Credit bearing work-based learning: learning from other's practice

Work-based learning (WBL) in Higher Education (HE) encompasses a range of activities associated with employability and the workplace. This paper focuses on work-based learning in the context of learning for work, with campus-based learners gaining experience in the workplace, linked to formally accredited Higher Education programmes. In Engineering work-based learning typically involves industrial sandwich placements which may result in an additional award, such as a ‘diploma of industrial studies’, but rarely result in credit. In other disciplines such as Health and Medicine, however, there is a long tradition of awarding credit for work-based learning. This paper outlines the context and drivers for awarding credit for work based learning in Engineering and draws on literature, cross-discipline case studies and stakeholder perceptions to describe models of work-based learning and assessment practices appropriate to Engineering. It concludes by reflecting on the practical implications for academic institutions, staff, students and industrial supervisors involved.