10 areas for continued development in supporting work-based learning

Thumbing the THES  I noticed a further call for HEI’s to engage with work-based learning and innovative and creative ways. . Whilst Barnett, Leitch and Longhurst all call for WBL to be embraced for philosophically sound, and by now, well charted reasons, the challenges that underpin the expansion in WBL are rarely explored in gritty detail. The organisational change required to normalise WBL is vast. Whilst some institutions, no doubt, stand out as having superb integrated WBL provision, challenges for the mainstream are deep and wide ranging. 10 fundamental areas for change to support the sustainable development of WBL are: 

1. Pedagogy : From content driven to process driven. 

2. Intellectual property  : From possession to flows

3. Administration : From one size to flexible systems which track learners across bespoke routes to learning  

4. Technology : Systems that embrace access from the workplace, but that remain of high value, media embracing, eclectic hubs of human interaction. 

5. QA : Flexible and robust systems that work across traditional subject or even institutional boundaries. 

6. Collaborations : If learners on their individual journey’s are to access courses, expertise and resources that are just right for their needs, cooperation and collaboration is needed between faculties, departments or even whole institutions, perhaps where relationships have been or remain in part competitive). 

7. Belief : If HE is to embrace WBL it needs to be seen to be genuinely valuable (beyond funding). 

8. Assessment : Authenticity for manageability, usefulness and knowledge flows (assessment may be a dialogue between the university and employers). 

9. Language : This is forming, but still terms do not always have shared meaning (which in turn can confuse 1-8).

10. Evaluative frameworks : Before considering if WBL is working, and where it could be improved, measures of success need to be formulated. 

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