Higher Education and the WorkplaceSupporting employer engagement in engineering and physical science Work-based learning opportunities in Higher Education through Learning through Work (LtW) David Young Professor of Work-based Learning, University of Derby Judy Saxton Learning through Work Manager, Ufi/Learndirect
Higher Education and the WorkplaceSupporting employer engagement in engineering and physical science • Characteristics of work-based learning in HE • The LtW approach • A brief overview of the new LtW site • Some consideration of “bite-sized” HE opportunities • Discussion focused on participants' identification of opportunities within their own sectoral/disciplinary areas • Key questions about the approach.
Higher Education and the Workplace Characteristics: … learning opportunities are not contrived for study purposes but arise from normal work … … learning tasks and work tasks are complementary… … meets the needs of learners, contributes to the longer-term development of the organisation and is formally accredited as a university award … … a radical approach to the notion of higher education ... Boud D & Solomon N (2nd ed. 2003)Work-based Learning: A New Higher Education? Buckingham, SRHE/Open University Press
Seven elements of a work-based curriculum(after Boud 2003) • Work-based learning, while often undertaken in work, is not identical to work. • Address the diverse range of skills and knowledge possessed by learners coming to work-based learning at the beginning of the process. • Locate the outcomes of work-based learning in a framework of awards based on known and identified levels and standards of achievement. • Promote the ideas of negotiation and development within a programme of activities. • Develop a means of supporting learners at work or in any other location remote from a campus. • Encourage critical reflection throughout the programme. • Document learning in a form which can be assessed in terms of the awards frameworks already identified.
Principles • The most important thing about work-based learning in higher education is that it must be clearly recognisable as higher education. • Credit and awards gained for work-based learning must represent the same levels of rigour and intellectual challenge as those in more traditional areas. • In the UK, this means, like all other programmes, by being clearly and demonstrably located within the QAA Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ).
The next most important thing is flexibility … flexibility is the key • It is important though, at the beginning, to stress that this flexibility does not amount to licence. • Rather it should offer freedom, within the parameters of the award being sought (certificate, diploma, first degree, etc.), for learners and their companies to shape and make a qualification of personal and professional relevance, based on a curriculum of work and accessed in a way which is personally and professionally appropriate. • Mapping the work-based curriculum against the FHEQ’s Level Descriptors – essentially the output statements for HE awards at various levels – is particularly useful in reconciling flexibility with clearly identified higher education standards.
Learning through Work • Flexible, Work-based Routes to University Qualifications • Exemplifies the shift from teaching and instruction to learning • Not a supply-side model - the learner and /or the company is at the heart of the process • NEGOTIATION within a quality-assured framework is the key.
Learning Through Work • is a negotiated programme based on a broadly constructivist perspective of valid knowledge • is aligned with QAA qualification descriptors • combines learner-managed tasks and learner-managed processes … • …where socially situated individuals relate the familiar circumstances of their work contexts to the requirements of academic award • can be categorised as ‘blended learning’ (Konrad, 2003)
Learning through Work at Derby • Is academically driven • Works across all Faculties • Is located in a cross-University School of Flexible & Partnership Learning • Utilises a distributed funding model • Has a central team of academics and administrators … • … with academic co-ordinators and tutors in Faculties • Operates within robust QA procedures – a Regulatory Framework and interesting External Examination arrangements. • Commended in Derby’s 2005 QAA Institutional Audit • Times Higher Award 2006: Most Imaginative Use of Distance Learning
LTW Level IndicatorsDerived from QAA Level Descriptors Complexity and responsibility This concerns the level of complexity you are dealing with and what you are personally taking responsibility for Scope This is about whether you are for instance working within a closely-defined situation or considering wider implications and impact. Thinking and understanding This refers to the level of thinking and understanding you are using in analysing information, pulling information together and making decisions about what you are doing. Investigation and evaluation This concerns how you are investigating information and evaluating situations. Innovation and originality This is about the level of originality and innovation you are bringing to your work.
LtW – why the re-development? • LtW was originally built (in 2001) as a pilot activity and has almost reached capacity • It is built on technology that is becoming out-dated and we have little control of the site. • The design is fairly linear, the resources all accessed from the learning contract. • The look and feel is tired. • Using LtW over the last five years has given us a good feel for what precisely is needed.
The re-developed system • a versatile, robust and scalable web-based set of resources for institutions to use to support the development and delivery of WBL. • on-line content to be accessible (and ‘buy-able’) separately from the learning contract to enable HEIs to respond to ‘just in time’ business. • customizable to enable partners (HEIs and others) to brand and adapt parts • some new features will be built in to make the site easier more flexible in its use • re-launch January 2008
The new LtW system: summary • Learning Area • Customised by HEI and programme • Support resources (help & expert advice) • Dialogue • FAQs • On-line content (learning resources) • Learning plan (incorporated in ‘my programme’ for fully-flexible learners) • Front end – public facing site • Individuals • ‘fully flexible’ • module based • Employers • HEIs Customisable ‘shop window’ for each HEI Application Customised by HEI and type of learner Offer of ‘place’ allows access to learning area
Learning through Work at Derby • Started small • First applicant 9 May 2001 • Since May 2001, we have had: • More than 3000 applications from learners • 500+ different organisations (micro - v. large) • 1000+ learning contracts in various stages of development / completed • 921 learners in 2006-2007 • Target of 1100+ in 2007-2008