|Module 1: Introduction to WBL
|Critical success factors
|Introduction | Eight factors | Summary
Partnership is a critical theme of WBL. There are layers of partnership within WBL models and within this all partners are considered equal:
Being explicit about the roles of partners is important. Read about roles here. (insert link to role defns)
Having the right partners and being able to keep the partnership going is very important, requires skill and process and demands additional skills particularly of WBL facilitators and mentors. It also involves the recognition that others outside of the institution might be the best people to teach the learner about new ideas and practices and tools and technology than the institution.
Leadership is multilayered. More than one person may be involved. The leadership tasks and skills involves brokering and maintaining partnership; sponsoring; enabling; coordinating; communicating both about WBL and the project; identifying and linking people, knowledge and structures; planning; project management.
We have discussed the centrality of context for relevance. This means that outcomes must be connected to both the learning needs of the learner and also their origination. The outcomes therefore must be able to be applied and they must be able to be generated within the time requirements of the organisation, otherwise they are not helpful. This tension between the process of learners learning time and space and the need for helpful outcomes for the organisation needs to thought about and be worked through within the structure of the project.
Many writers about WBL discuss that it is the quality of the reflection process in relation to the agreed learning outcomes that is the most important factor in learning. The process of determining learning outcomes is therefore a critical component of WBL.
Identifying the learning process and the structures and resources to ensure the quality of the learning journey is critically important. It requires the involvement of all three parties and more than likely regular review.
Where a workplace has multiple staff involved in wbl processes there might need to be some discussion of levels of support to ensure consistency between learners.
|5. Involvement of learners
Learners need to be fully involved in the learning process, in its shaping, discussions of relevance, planning and delivery.
The project is important, but equally important is the support given to learners to connect the outcomes of the project to the qualification and academic framework. For the learner, projects need to be able to enable alignment, synergy between individual and organisational goals, engagement for reflection and critical analysis, critical review and feedback processes, and the opportunity to engage and learn with others. Developing the project to attend to these multiple needs isn’t a straight forward process, it is challenging and demanding. Learners may need a variety of skills to navigate this in order to extract the learning that emerges and to engage with it.
A further article to read is found here (Bridging the academic and vocational divide)
|6. Facilitation and support
Facilitating wbl is a critical and ongoing enabling process. Multiple people can be facilitators in the widest sense, but within the Otago Polytechnic model of WBL each learner has a facilitator who will be a constant presence in their life, enabling and unlocking, assisting the learner with extracting the learning and reflecting on it, synthesizing this with new knowledge, and assisting the learner develop and articulate models of understanding that can be used more broadly in the future. Facilitators and mentors also contribute to the learning process with sharing of knowledge and suggestions for further learning.
Tennant offers some helpful direction for facilitators in understanding their roles with equipping and supporting learners so that may
Hardacre and Workman (2010) identify that “Facilitators should be also able to supplement the learner’s knowledge with new knowledge or resources and understand the context of the workplace with its potential learning opportunities”.
|7. Capacity and Capability
The 2007 PSE report identifies that “organisations need the capability and capacity to harness the opportunities that work based learning brings, it is a process that must be supported, sponsored and led in the workplace by people who have both the time and the competence to do so”. Work based learning brings demands on organisation in this way, but also provides opportunities for organisations. Links can be made between career development and organisational growth as well as learning about the nature and benefits of this form of education that is inclusive of the understandings and skills already present within organisations
Two forms of evaluation form part of the WBL approach: