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Tertiary level work based learning has several distinct features:

  • the concept of partnership between an organisation, an educational institution and the learner.
  • the learner is part of the organisation. The role can be paid or a volunteer but the concept of commitment exists.
  • the programme derives from the needs of the workplace rather than being controlled by the disciplinary curriculum
  • the starting point is established after a structured review of current learning
  • a major part of the programme is work based learning projects that meet the needs of the learner and their organisation
  • a transdisciplinary framework of standards is used to assess.

Otago Polytechnic subscribes to this description of WBL and further elaborates this in the following way. Work-Based Learning at Otago Polytechnic seeks to:

  • enable the Polytechnic to provide programmes customised to meet the needs of employer partners;
  • provide accessible and flexible opportunities for those in paid or unpaid work to access a comprehensive range of under-graduate and post-graduate qualifications;
  • provide a means to recognise and accredit higher-level learning that is specifically achieved in the context of the workplace to promote continuing personal and professional development;
  • enable individuals to recognise their own WBL as the subject of higher education study and to negotiate programmes which are focused on topics and issues relevant to their work/ practice;
  • provide the means to construct negotiated work-based higher education programmes in partnership with employers or other organisations, which are designed to meet their development needs.

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Write a 500 word response:

Reflect on the dimensions of teaching and learning associated with WBL that are different to those dimensions within a classroom environment in your institution which are often structured around knowledge disciplines.

  • What are the implications of this form of learning for your institution?
  • What are the implications for yourself as facilitator to learners?
  • Who would this form of learning suit most and least? Why?
  • Who are the key partners in your WBL context?
  • What does each partner need to understand about the other?