Work Integrated Learning

WIL header img

Work Integrated Learning (WIL) framework

In the constantly evolving world of work, assisting students to develop adaptable and relevant work skills is critical. Although a range of work integrated learning activities are available within the curriculum at La Trobe, it is recognised that we need to adopt a university wide strategy and process to deliver sustainable, diverse and scalable WIL opportunities to greater student numbers.

An overview of Work Integrated Learning at La Trobe can be found here: WIL framework brochure [PDF 606KB]

WIL strategy

Enhancing student employability is one of the core objectives of the 2018-2022 La Trobe Strategic Plan [PDF 2.5MB]. We aim to position La Trobe in the top 12 in Australia and top in Victoria for graduates in full time employment through further enhancement and streamlining of our quality WIL offerings.

Objectives

To support this strategic goal, our objectives include:

  • Development of a framework and associated definitions of WIL that align policies and procedures across La Trobe
  • Establishment of a governance framework with defined monitoring and reporting of WIL across La Trobe
  • Development of streamlined support and training resources for students, academics, and industry partners
  • Design and implementation of effective evaluation tools to inform and monitor the experience of students and industry partners
  • Implementation of effective communications strategies and a united web presence for WIL at La Trobe

Deliverables

Our projected deliverables to enhance WIL at La Trobe include:

  • An updated and reformed Educational Partnership Procedure (Work-based learning),
  • A set of templates suitable for use across a range of placement models,
  • A review of support structures in place at La Trobe and subsequent recommendations to position WIL at La Trobe for success,
  • Mapping of all activities across the three WIL levels,
  • A formalized process to support ongoing reporting of WIL through course management systems and placement software (i.e. InPlace),
  • Design and increase in number of scalable and innovative WIL models available at La Trobe
  • An evaluation framework to assess the quality of WIL across student, industry, and academic cohorts
  • A variety of comprehensive support resources (i.e. toolkits) for students, industry, academics,
  • A redesigned web presence on WIL at La Trobe that is clear for students and industry partners.

WIL definition

At La Trobe University we use a definition of work-integrated learning (WIL) that aligns to the National WIL Strategy to guide our practice:

“An umbrella term for a range of approaches and strategies that integrate theory with the practice of work within a purposefully designed curriculum” (Patrick et al., 2008, p. iv).

During their time at La Trobe, students will engage in a range of WIL activities embedded in the curriculum that span professional awareness (through career development learning), industry connection (through professional engagement), and professional practice (through work-based learning).

To support adoption and clarification of our practice in WIL, we define these three different types of learning experiences as follows:

La Trobe WIL framework [PDF 785kb]

Career development learning

At La Trobe University, we support students’ professional awareness through the design of industry-relevant and industry-informed curriculum that facilitates the development of personal awareness, career management and reflective skills.

Examples include:

  • guest lectures by industry professionals
  • career literacy and exploration activities
  • in-class assignments or activities to prepare students for work, such as resume writing, development of professional profiles, portfolios, elevator pitches and interview practice

Professional engagement

At La Trobe University, we support students’ professional engagement through industry relevant learning opportunities undertaken within the curriculum where students are exposed to simulated and/or practice-based learning in a controlled setting.

Examples include:

  • case studies and role play in class that reflect authentic work environments
  • professional simulation and interprofessional learning (e.g. collaboration across professions)
  • field trips and study tours to real-world contexts (domestic or international)
  • industry projects that occur within the La Trobe educational environment, with primary supervision provided by a university academic.

Work-based learning

At La Trobe University, we support students’ professional practice through a range of for-credit or course-required work-based learning opportunities. These activities involve practice-based projects or placements that take place within a workplace. Students not only observe, but are engaged in professional tasks, in most cases with industry supervision and oversight from a La Trobe academic coordinator.

In addition to what may be considered ‘traditional placements’, and work placements that meet the relevant standards as outlined in the Educational Partnerships Procedure, other examples that fall under this category include:

  • placements undertaken by students who are enrolled under a third-party teaching arrangement with La Trobe
  • placements undertaken as a hurdle, where the activity is a course requirement rather than a subject requirement
  • placements undertaken at La Trobe where the university is the workplace
  • placements undertaken ‘remotely’ where an online or home environment is considered to be the workplace

WIL guiding principles

The following WIL Principles are designed to guide our strategy and efforts in the design, establishment and operation of work integrated learning activities for students at La Trobe University.

Principle Description
Safety and Compliance We meet all internal and external compliance requirements and prioritise students’ safety.
Student Employability We ensure that all work integrated learning opportunities link theory to practice in authentic ways that help students understand the work environment and enhance their employability.
Accessibility and Support We seek to provide inclusive and flexible opportunities for students across all our campuses and to deliver the support and resources required to maximize their success. 
Evidence-Based Practice We take an evidence-based approach to continuous improvement of the design of our curriculum, the management of our relationships with partners, and the supports provided to ensure a quality student experience.
Optimise Our Partnerships We are committed to identifying opportunities to optimise all existing and future partnerships to increase access to authentic learning experiences for students across the university.
Showcase Our Graduates We seek to build La Trobe University’s position as a partner of choice by showcasing the professional capabilities of our students to internal and industry stakeholders.

WIL snap shots

We have developed a series of case studies to illustrate the wide range of WIL activities we have taking place at La Trobe. Refer below for snap shots that illustrate good practice in WIL:

Career development learning

Professional engagement

Work-based learning

Educational partnerships procedure (Work-based learning)

The Educational Partnerships Policy and the Educational Partnerships Procedure - Work-based learning outlines the University’s approach to educational partnerships and the minimum requirements for the management and quality assurance of work-based learning arrangements. Compliance with these ensures that the University meets its obligations under the Higher Education Threshold Standards and applicable legislation.

There is a range of resources available to support the implementation of the Procedure.

Resources

The following resources have been developed to support delivery of WBL programs at La Trobe and align with WBL Procedure requirements:

Host Organisation WBL Guide

A document available that must be given to all host organisations prior to a student commencing their placement.

Student WBL Guide

A document available that must be provided to all students prior to placement commencement.

Staff WBL Guide

These guidelines support staff in the development and implementation of work-integrated learning activities (WIL) at La Trobe University, elaborating on the provisions in the Educational Partnerships Procedure (WBL).

Staff involved in WBL programs may also be interested in the following resources.

General resources

TEQSA Guidance Note

Guidance note on relevant standards for WIL in the HES Framework

National WIL strategy

National strategy on WIL in university education in Australia

WIL Guide for Science

A Guide for the development and implementation of WIL programs in Science, developed by the Australian Council of Deans for Science

WIL Projects

Link to a range of ACEN endorsed projects

Good Practice Report (WIL)

Identifies good practices in WIL in Australia

Teaching & Learning

A Practical Guide for WIL

Effective Practices to enhance educational quality of structured WBL experiences (HECQO)

Good Practice Guide – Integration

Bringing together theory and practice

Good Practice Guide – Assessment

Good practice in WIL assessment

Good Practice Guide – Preparation

Getting the student ready for the WBL experience

Good Practice Guide – Supervision

Monitoring of student learning experience

Good Practice Guide – Debrief

Reflection of experience post placement

NB: La Trobe University is an institutional member of the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN). We would encourage all staff to join (http://acen.edu.au/join/) to receive regular updates regarding events and professional development being offered by ACEN.