Work-Integrated Learning Best Practice
CTLI’s website (learninginnovation.ca) is a great overall resource that is both practical and evidence based. The blog posts and teaching toolkits featured on the site offer many resources and can be searched by theme. The list below presents resources in the form of easy-to-implement quick tips for improving work-integrated learning opportunities for students.
- What is Work-Integrated Learning (Business and Higher Education Roundtable, n.d.-b)
- Types of WIL (Business and Higher Education Roundtable, n.d.-a)
- Work-Integrared Learning: Maximizing Benefits and Minimizing Challenges (Haggarty, 2021)
- Taking the Pulse of Work-Integrated Learning in Canada (Academica Group, n.d.)
- A Practical Guide to Work-Integrated Learning: Effective Practices to Enhance the Educational Quality of Structured Work Experiences Offered Through Colleges and Universities (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario, 2016)
Lethbridge College’s Learning Experience Design and Educational Development teams stay on top of current research and best practice in teaching and learning. Below you will find a summary of key takeaways from current research. A link to an annotated bibliography follows for those who’d like to look more deeply into the research.
Key Takeaways for Work-Integrated Learning
- Work-integrated learning (WIL) opportunities such as job shadowing, internships, cooperative education, practicums, and real-world projects support experiential learning.
- Business programs typically use case studies as an instructional strategy with great success. There is a shift towards integrating more experiential and WIL options to strengthen the application of theory to practice.
- Including more hands-on experiences is increasingly becoming required by accreditation boards and is often mentioned in industry feedback.
- Aligning WIL to in-class assignments increases learner reflection and learners’ perception of their connection of theory to the real-world. Structured time and assessments are needed to support this reflection and analysis across the program of study
- A shift to experiential learning and competency-based practices requires time for instructor collaboration. There is support for less time being spent in a typical structured class with directed learning and more time on teachers being provided time for mentorship, facilitation, and differentiated learning opportunities for students, as well as time for instructor collaboration.
Academica Group. (n.d.). Taking the pulse of work-integrated learning in Canada [PDF file]. Business and Higher Education Roundtable.
Business and Higher Education Roundtable. (n.d.-a). Types of WIL.
Business and Higher Education Roundtable. (n.d.-b). What is work-integrated learning? https://www.bher.ca/work-integrated-learning/wil-101
Haggarty, J. (2021, May 6). Work-integrated learning: Maximizing benefits and minimizing challenges. Lethbridge College Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Innovation. https://learninginnovation.ca/work-integrated-learning-maximizing-benefits-and-minimizing-challenges/
Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. (2016). A practical guide for work-integrated learning: Effective practices to enhance the educational quality of structured work experiences offered through colleges and universities [PDF file]. Government of Ontario. https://heqco.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/HEQCO_WIL_Guide_ENG_ACC.pdf
Christie Robertson (She/Her)
Learning Experience Design Manager
Jess Nicol (She/Her)
Educational Development Specialist
Tatiana Kloster (She/Her)
Learning Experience Designer