Online learning is particularly relevant for work-based learning as it supports part-time students well. These students want to fit their learning into times that suit their work and life commitments. They may choose to use different technologies to access their learning from different locations.
Our technology for work-based learning guide considers some of the challenges and benefits in supporting this kind of learning.
Tailored and flexible support
Distance learning courses are often marketed towards work-based learners and sometimes paid for by employers. Employers may allow time during work hours for students to study, but many study in the evenings or at weekends. For this reason, student support needs to be tailored differently for this kind of student.
Your institution will need to develop flexible and appropriate methods to deliver and assess courses. It will also need to engage strategically with businesses and other stakeholder organisations to identify current professional and industry requirements.
Involving external professionals
It’s useful to engage external professionals in curriculum design. Online learning also presents opportunities for them to become involved in curriculum delivery, for example by feeding back to students online or helping to develop content for the course.
Providing ‘talking head’ videos from professionals, or holding a live question and answer sessions are a couple of examples of how your institution can include authentic content from people working within an industry or profession.
Involving alumni in these kinds of activity is beneficial for students and also helps to maintain and build relationships with past students.
Incorporating professional elements – examples
These examples show a range of different approaches to incorporating professional elements into courses:
- Practical, clinical field and work based learning (Manchester Metropolitan University)
- Core skills for professional learning in medicine (Imperial College)
- Digital storytelling for employability (University of Bolton)
- Skills for professional practice in Biosciences (Glasgow Caledonian University)
- Living and working on the web (University of Southampton)
- Digital approaches to English and mathematics (ACER: six partner organisations in the eastern region and how they have supported learners on apprenticeship and traineeship programmes)
- Improving success by flipping the learning (Hull College)
- Developing digital learning at Prospects College for Advanced Technology (Prospects College for Advanced Technology)