Work Integrated Learning and the Humanities: Possibilities and Future Directions

By Catherine Pocknee and Gabriella Pretto.

Published by The Humanities Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2008, in response to government, industry and community demand, Australia completed its first large scale scoping study of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) curriculum in contemporary Australian higher education. The aim of the WIL project was to document and scope current WIL practices nationally, and identify ways to improve the educational experience of students, in order to produce more industry focused, work ready graduates (Patrick et al., 2008). The project, which was government funded and included 37 of Australia’s 39 universities, found that all of those who participated in the study saw real value in adopting a more industry focused curricula, however, it also revealed that many were still grappling with selecting from the range of options available, and finding the most appropriate way of integrating them into courses. Traditional disciplines such as nursing, medicine, education and engineering have always had an embedded work integrated learning component in their curriculum, usually in the form of industry placements, but many disciplines, in non-traditional areas such as the liberal arts, were new to this concept of WIL and unsure of how to customise programs to meet the needs of their particular discipline. To address this issue, a series of narratives or vignettes were developed and compiled to provide insight into not only to the diverse range of pedagogical practices in the area, but also offer practical advice on how to establish, develop and manage programs in an innovative and sustainable way. This paper analyses more closely the Australian research on embedding WIL in non-traditional areas and highlights a number of key vignettes that offer significant insights into possible future directions for the Humanities as they come to terms with this challenge.

Keywords: Work Integrated Learning (WIL), Vignettes, Professional Practice

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp.175-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.936MB).

Catherine Pocknee

Academic Development Advisor, Swinburne Professional Learning, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Cathy is an Academic Development Advisor in the Swinburne Professional Learning Unit at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia where she supports the Faculty of Life and Social Science in the enhancement of Learning and Teaching practice. She has a strong background in educational research, particularly educational technology and is currently undertaking a PhD investigating ideas of strategic educational change and leadership in learning and teaching practice in higher education. Cathy has been an active participant and researcher in a number of educational research projects and recently co-managed the national Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Discipline-Based Initiatives Project Work Integrated Learning: A national framework for future progress, which undertook the first large scale scoping study of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) curriculum in contemporary Australian higher education in order to improve the learning experience of students.

Gabriella Pretto

Educational Developer, Academic Development Group, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Gabriella has taught in secondary schools, TAFE and Higher Education for many years. Her qualifications are in Information Technology and Humanities. In recent years, her focus has been in educational research and working on a range of projects that include Work Integrated Learning, Academic Language and Learning in Science, and pedagogic practice in IT. She is currently completing a PhD.

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