Monday, October 06, 2008

Work Integrated Learning

A new take on an old idea is Work Integrated Learning: integrating the student's work into their formal education. In a way this is just a formalisation of how learning normally happens and is the universities catching up with what has been done in the vocational education sector. The Australian Collaborative Education Network provides information on Australian developments:
ACEN is a newly formed network of interested practitioners and researchers involved in work integrated learning in Australia. Collaborative Education currently exists in various forms including internships, cooperative education, work placements, community based learning, clinical rotations and sandwich year.
ACEN provides peer support and opportunities to share good practice in collaborative education on a national level with associated international links.A database of interested practitioners is maintained by the Australian Collaborative Education Network and registered members will be notified of
state, national and international activities. ...

From: Australian Collaborative Education
(ACEN), 2005

... Principles of work-integrated learning

Work-integrated learning exposes students to the complexity and context of professional practice and can occur:

on campus through structured
authentic activities and assessment derived from specific learning objectives in
in simulated workplace settings on campus;
as work experience in
the industry / professional workplace; or
as a community-based learning
activity which will normally involve some work off campus.

learning activities may include:

work experience in industry (eg field
placement, practicum, professional practice, community-based learning or
project or 'capstone' activities;
schemes and events; or
simulated work environment (eg mock pharmacy, moot court, in-house
production, simulated stock exchange or other as deemed appropriate through
normal faculty approval processes).
In undertaking work-integrated learning,

apply and refine their current knowledge and skills, and learn
new knowledge and skills;
apply, reflect on and critique their experience as
part of assessment; and
are normally coached or mentored by industry staff
in the workplace.

From: Work-integrated learning policy, QUT, 03/11/2006,

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