|Module 1: Introduction to WBL|
|Principles of WBL||Introduction | Seven principles | Summary|
|Principle 1: WBL is a new paradigm of higher education.|
|WBL places the learner at the heart of the learning process and challenges and inverts the traditional power relationship between teacher and learner. It places significant responsibility for identifying the learning scope, what the ‘curriculum’ will consist of, and the manner of assessment squarely in the hands of the learner.
To be successfully implemented, WBL requires a profound shift in appreciation of the nature of commonly accepted notions of teaching and learning practice. Introducing WBL changes academic perceptions of how knowledge and qualifications could be structured, and requires a broadening of understandings of the content and context of qualifications and even of the taxonomical arrangements of knowledge disciplines.
|Principle 2: WBL is a three way partnership, with employer engagement being a distinct and critical component.|
|WBL is based on a tripartite contract between the learner, the employer and the institution. This requires a deep and strong engagement and relationship to be built between the institution, the learner and the employing organisation in order to ensure adequate and appropriate understanding by all parties of the type and extent of support required by the WBL learner to achieve their learning goals.
This means that employers need to be informed about the academic requirements, practices and language as it relates to WBL. In turn the facilitator needs to be familiar with the language, practices and constraints of the workplace. In both cases these considerations must be incorporated into the engagement process. To give real effect to this, the institution needs to develop a strategic framework and policies around employer engagement.
|Principle 3: APL process underpins and is an essential ingredient of WBL.|
|WBL philosophy and practice acknowledges that the potential learner brings to the process considerable pre-existing experience, knowledge and skills from the workplace. As such it behoves the institution to use a holistic, academically robust and philosophically aligned system of assessing and accrediting prior learning (APL). The evolved practice and pedagogy of the APL process developed by Otago Polytechnic, provides a solid and essential foundation for WBL in that it measures what can already be accredited, as well as providing learners with the necessary skills of reflection, critical thinking and the means to position prior learning within wider theories and concepts.|
|Principle 4: Curriculum is shaped by the learner and articulated within a learning agreement.|
|A critical feature of WBL is that the learner has control over the curriculum and determines how the learning is to be undertaken. The learning agreement outlines the context, articulates and justifies the learning outcomes, makes explicit how the learning will be undertaken, the resources and timeframe required, and describes the manner in which the learning will be assessed.
A formal learning agreement approval policy and protocol is a key element in the WBL process. The submission of the developed learning agreement for assessment and approval is pivotal in the WBL learner’s journey. This approval process ensures that the proposed learning outcomes are achievable and are aligned with the programme’s graduate profile and criteria, that the learning can be achieved within the available resource constraints, are acceptable and approved by the employing organisation and provide genuine opportunities for new learning. Assessment frameworks must ensure consistency across a wide range of learners and learner contexts. This must be addressed at an institutional level rather than at the programme level, so that it gives WBL assessments the required validity.
|Principle 5: Practitioner inquiry is the primary mode of research for WBL|
|WBL provides an alternative structure and pathway to either a research focused or taught qualification. In traditional research degrees the research output is conditioned and framed by the research methodology the validity of which becomes a primary focus. Central to the WBL journey is the inquiry project, where the method of inquiry serves the needs of the WBL project. Choosing and justifying an appropriate inquiry approach is an important part of WBL, in most cases the primary method of investigation is through practitioner inquiry which is the most appropriate form of research for WBL.
Otago Polytechnic defines practitioner research as inquiry carried out by practitioners for the purpose of advancing their own practice, generating new knowledge and as an agency for change and innovation, all within the context of the workplace.
|Principle 6: Critical to the successful implementation of a learning agreement is the focus and diversity of individualised learner support|
|Support is provided to the learner primarily by skilled and experienced facilitators, Academic Mentors and expert practitioner mentors sourced from within and/or external to the learner’s workplace. These multiple perspectives not only act to deepen a learner’s ability to engage in the inquiry process and explore and consider issues of relevance and significance to their workplace practice but also ensure academic standards and rigour of the learning.
|Principle 7: Research and evaluation of WBL is essential to underpin, support and strengthen practice.|
|Internationally, WBL is recognised as a field of study in itself and as such becomes a significant focus of research. Critical to the success and sustainability of WBL at Otago Polytechnic is ongoing formal research and evaluation necessary to inform practice and the development and long term strategic direction of the model, as well as positioning Otago Polytechnic within the international canon of WBL theory.|