Providers work closely with organisations outside the sector to give students authentic, structured opportunities for learning in a workplace setting. This Theme provides practical advice on the formal agreements, design, information and monitoring pivotal to effective provision in this area. It is also relevant to higher education apprenticeships.
Expectations and Practices for Work-based Learning
Expectations for standards
The academic standards of courses meet the requirements of the relevant national qualifications framework.
The value of qualifications awarded to students at the point of qualification and over time is in line with sector-recognised standards.
Expectations for quality
Courses are well-designed, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.
Core practices for standards
Where a provider works in partnership with other organisations, it has in place effective arrangements to ensure that the standards of its awards are credible and secure irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them.
The provider ensures that students who are awarded qualifications have the opportunity to achieve standards beyond the threshold level that are reasonably comparable with those achieved in other UK providers.
Common practice for standards
The provider reviews its core practices for standards regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
Core practices for quality
The provider has a reliable, fair and inclusive admissions system.
Where a provider works in partnership with other organisations, it has in place effective arrangements to ensure that the academic experience is high-quality irrespective of where or how courses are delivered and who delivers them.
The provider has fair and transparent procedures for handling complaints and appeals which are accessible to all students.
Common practices for quality
The provider’s approach to managing quality takes account of external expertise.
The provider engages students individually and collectively in the development, assurance and enhancement of the quality of their educational experience.
- Work-based learning courses and opportunities are designed and developed in partnership with employers, students and other stakeholders (where appropriate) and contain learning outcomes that are relevant to work objectives.
- Work-based learning consists of structured opportunities for learning and is achieved through authentic activity and is supervised in the workplace.
- Work-based learning opportunities are underpinned by formal agreements between education organisations, employers and students.
- Education organisations and employers consider any specific issues in relation to the workplace environment and deal with them appropriately, including informal agreements where appropriate.
- Work-based learning is delivered through a meaningful partnership between students, employers and the education organisation.
- Work-based learning opportunities enable students to apply and integrate areas of subject and professional knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to meet course learning outcomes.
- Parties understand and respect the respective roles, responsibilities and expectations of the education organisation, employer and student, and appropriate training and support is provided where required.
- Education organisations and employers acknowledge individuals have unique needs within the education organisation and in the workplace, and collaborate to ensure opportunities are inclusive, safe and supported.
- Work-based learning opportunities are designed, monitored, evaluated and reviewed in partnership with employers.
- Cooper, L. Orrell, J., & Bowden, M. (2010) Work integrated learning: A guide to effective practice. Abingdon: Routledge
- Helyer, R. (2015) The work-based learning student handbook (2nd edition). Macmillan
- Mezirow, J. (2009) Transformative Learning in Practice, USA, Jossey-Bass
- Lemanski, T., Mewis, R. & Overton, T. 'An introduction to work-based learning: A physical sciences practice guide (PDF, 1.08MB)' Hull: HEA
- Lester, S., Bravenboer, D. W. and Webb, N. (2016) Work-integrated degrees: context, engagement, practice and quality (PDF, 0.38MB), Gloucester: QAA
- Work-based learning, QAA Scotland, 2010
- Characteristics Statement, Foundation Degree (PDF, 0.19MB), QAA, 2015
- QAA Glossary (PDF, 0.24MB)
- Quality assuring higher education in apprenticeships: Current approaches (second edition), QAA, 2018
- Focus on Projects, QAA Scotland
- ELIR Thematic Reports, QAA Scotland
- Collaborative Activity 2015-16, QAA Scotland, 2016
- Graduate Apprenticeships: A brand new way to work and learn, SDS, 2018
- SFC guidance to HEIs on quality
- Taylor, E. W. (1998) Transformative Learning: A Critical Review, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult Career and Vocational Education (Information Series No. 374)
- Unionlearn Workplace support for higher level learning: An introductory guide for advisers (PDF, 0.74MB), TUC
- Williams, A. & Thurairajah, N. (2009) Employer Engagement Series One - Work-based learning. Working the curriculum: Approval, delivery and assessment (PDF, 1.68MB), HEA
- The Work-based Learning Toolkit
- ASET good practice guide for work based and placement learning in higher education (PDF, 1.28MB), ASET, 2013
- Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning, Emerald
- Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education
- Studies in Higher Education
- The Journal of Work-Applied Management
- Journal of Further and Higher Education
- BERA Review of Education
- Ahlgren L., and Tett L. (2010) Work-based learning, identity and organisational culture, Studies in Continuing Education, Vol 32, No. 1, pp17-27
- Siebert S., and Walsh A. (2013) Reflection in Work-Based Learning: self-regulation or self-liberation? Teaching in Higher Education, Vol. 18, No.2, pp167-178
- Brodie P., and Irving K. (2007) Assessment in Work-Based Learning: investigating a pedagogical approach to enhance student learning, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 11-19
- Costley C., and Armsby P., (2007) Work-Based Learning Assessed as a Field or a Mode of Study, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp21-33
- Centre for Work-based Learning in Scotland
- Employability, Enterprise and Work-based learning network
- Work and Learning Network, convened by the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning