An institutional framework to guide the comparison of work-integrated learning

Mollie Dollinger, Jason Brown


Work-based placements, site visits, field trips and embedded industry-informed curriculum are employability strategies frequently applied by universities, and clustered under the umbrella term – work-integrated learning (WIL). Referring to each of these strategies as WIL can complicate comparisons (e.g. long-term placements vs. field trips) and can lead WIL related research to diverge in multiple directions. To support comparison and help guide institutional decision-making relating to WIL, the positioning of this article aligns with a recent stream of literature that attempts to outline, contrast and differentiate between various activities aimed at enhancing graduate employability. Four distinct WIL case studies from three Australian universities are described in this article: (a) students working in teams with industry partners (n=23), (b) students co-creating learning resources (n=7), (c) a student-staff partnership (n=2), and (d) students acting as peer-learning advisors (n=5). The cases were considered across five key factors: 1) ease of implementation, 2) barriers, 3) scalability, 4) authenticity, and 5) proximity. Using empirical data, the findings within the article contribute an institutional framework that highlights the benefits and drawbacks associated with differences across WIL types, intended to support good WIL practice among administrators, teachers and staff.


work-integrated learning; higher education

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