SHEEN Sharing

A Project of the Scottish Employability Co-ordinators' Network

Principles of work-related learning

Dear all,
This is my first posting. Let’s hope it works.
I am writing to ask for your comments and feedback on a set of five “Principles of work-related learning (wrl) ” that we developed recently.
They are meant to present a clear definition of what we think constitutes wrl, give our academic colleagues in the schools some guidance in their efforts to embed wrl in their teaching and provide a benchmark for existing activities. There is a great deal of vagueness and imprecision when it come to deciding what is good practice and what is not. The principles are supposed to add some precision to the debate. They are intended to be as generic as possible without providing too many ‘opt-out opportunities’; i.e. people claiming they have embedded wrl – but there is no real evidence of it.
I would be really grateful if you could maybe pass the principles on to some of your employability champions in a wide variety of departments and subject disciplines and ask them the following questions|:

1. How applicable and realistic are the principles for learning and teaching in your subject area?
2. How can they be refined or enhanced?
3. How useful are they for your daily practice, module and programme design?
4. What have we overlooked?

5 Principles of Work-Related Learning:
Work-related learning activities should be designed so that they:

1…. involve students in authentic activities that match as nearly as possible the real-world tasks of professional practices in a given discipline

Reflective questions

• Are students involved in solving a real problem which stems from needs and activities in the workplace?
• Do the activities enable students to experience both good and bad examples of work they are expected to produce, processes they are expected to employ or behaviours they are expected to demonstrate in the workplace?
• Are the activities designed in such a way that students can only carry them out in collaboration with others?

2…. define learning outcomes that state what the students will be able to do in the workplace

Reflective questions

• Do the outcomes identify the standard of the expected performance rather than what the students will ‘know about’, ‘understand’ or ‘describe’?
• Are learning outcomes assessed authentically, i.e. through methods that resemble as closely as possible the ways in which performance is assessed in the workplace?

3….. are based upon students’ current state of knowledge and interest

Reflective questions

• Do the activities enable students to build upon, relate or apply knowledge and skills from relevant past experiences?
• Does the learning process demand the application and transfer of knowledge into a new professional context or setting, beyond the ones they worked on during the course?

4…… require students to take on an active rather than a passive role in the learning process

Reflective questions

• Does the task require that students demonstrate critical, independent thinking?
• Are students involved in risk-taking associated with new behaviours?
• Are they supported in coping with resulting levels of anxiety?

5…. accommodate cultural diversity

Reflective questions

• Are students offered a range of national and international work related learning opportunities?
• Do learning activities accommodate culturally diverse value systems, learning styles and modes of communication and interaction?
• Are students prepared for working in a multi-cultural work environment?

The reflective questions are designed to break down each principle into its different components.
If you are interested, please e-mail me and I’ll send you the Word document and the reference list.

Many thanks !!

April 18, 2009 Posted by | Employability Resources | | Leave a comment