Work Integrated Learning
Work Integrated Learning (WIL) refers to learning activities where practical experience complements other course or unit elements. It involves applying theoretical knowledge in practice and reflecting on workplace experiences. It can also refer to deep industry or community involvement in course planning.
WIL features in a wide range of disciplines. For example, Education and Nursing include the practical experiences undertaken by students (often called practicums or internships) as a mandatory component of professional registration.
WIL encompasses a diverse range of teaching approaches and program structures. However, it is commonly understood to be a form of experiential learning. Simulated work environments are increasingly common, partly due to the growing competition for access to WIL opportunities. WIL also provides benefits to students, communities, employers, academic staff and their institutions.
Benefits of WIL
Career gains: up-skilling and/or career change for older workers, work readiness for youth, direct recruitment into employment, networking.
Academic gains: enhanced critical thinking and generic skills (due to the high levels of student engagement generated by active learning), enhanced disciplinary understanding through application of concepts and observation of skilled practitioners, enhanced problem solving skills.
Personal gains: clarity regarding career preferences, professionalism and professional identity development, communication, time management, and other soft skills development.
Productive partnerships: WIL hosts can also be research and/or community initiative partners, as well as consult on up-to-date curriculum renewal.
Strong graduate outcomes: if quality WIL assists students in attainment of graduate attributes and work readiness, then this will be reflected in positive course and student outcomes.
Recruitment and brand: Offering attractive WIL programs attracts quality applicants and helps to build solid community, business and alumni relations.
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