Types of work based learning : Brief overview

 1. Negotiated content framed within existing process driven modules

Modules/awards are validated; the outcomes and content focus upon the processes of learning, for example modules may be around action research, action learning, communication, change management and reflection. Individual learners or small cohorts may then customise the programme without need for levels of further validation; this route allows individual and organisational needs and interests to be integrated to a programme.  Where content negotiation is done with individuals rather than employers, this form of WBL is particularly rich in meta-learning.

2. Negotiated content / bespoke provision

  1. The rise in this level of negotiation is causing universities to seek more efficient, speedy and rigorous routes for scalable systems of validation.

3. Negotiated combinations

Existing modules are selected and combined in particular combinations to serve an individual’s needs.  For some combinations approval may need to be bought for awards to be made, other ‘groupings’ may be pre-approved (for example, as the OU allows module combinations to cross subject domains).  Existing provision may occur through partnership arrangements with providers outside of the traditional HE configuration. Added flexibility here may through the addition of smaller credit courses in to the mix and through the use of APL or APEL.

Demand is clearly leading the drive for creative approaches in provision, this is no surprise in the knowledge economy (Barnett, 2000; Leitch 2006). To support these approaches to learning (not all new, but now needing to be scalable) change is happening, though not ubiquitously across HEI’s or within any given HEI. To support the knowledge revolution there are needing to be changes in structure and processes; changes in attitudes and values (re. the value of different forms of knowledge and ways of learning); changes in technology to support the decentralisation of knowledge; changes in teaching and learning strategies; and changes in the role of the academic.

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