Work-integrated learning

Work-integrated learning (WIL) provides students with the opportunity to apply their learning from academic studies to relevant experiences and reciprocate learning back to their studies.[1] WIL is an umbrella term;[2] opportunities exist in various formats both on-campus and off-campus. Although WIL shares some of the same offerings as work-based learning (WBL), it is distinct in that WIL is part of school curriculum and often guided by learning objectives, while WBL is primarily grounded in the workplace and not necessarily connected to academic studies.[3] WIL opportunities include but are not limited to: apprenticeships, field experience, mandatory professional practice, co-operative education, internships, applied research projects, and service learning.[4] In Canada, WIL is defined by 9 types of experiential learning: (1) Co-op Work Term, (2) Internship, (3) Clinical Placement, (4) Field Placement, (5) Apprenticeship, (6) Applied Research, (7) Entrepreneurship, (8) Service Learning, and (9) Work Experience.[1]

WIL is found to offer career, academic, and personal benefits in addition to benefits for employers and the academic institutions they are part of.[5] Evidence links WIL to high levels of self-efficacy[6] and strong professional networks[7] and is a strong determinant of graduate employability. Students who participate in WIL are employment ready and may fare better in their job search and the transition from school to full-time employment.[8] The benefits of WIL have made this programming popular in the post-secondary environment, with research from around the world, including Australia, Canada.

Numerous stakeholders are involved in WIL, including members of industry, students, administration, faculty, and in some instances, government. Due to the broad range of both categories and stakeholders, challenges exist in addition to the benefits of WIL. Power, equity, cost, and measurability have been flagged as areas of concern across WIL practices.[4] Despite these concerns, WIL continues to experience growth and international attention.


  1. ^ Cooper, Lesley. (2010). Work Integrated Learning : a Guide to Effective Practice. Orrell, Janice., Bowden, Margaret. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-203-85450-1. OCLC 609858835.
  2. ^ The WIL (work integrated learning) report : a national scoping study. Patrick, Carol-joy., Australian Learning & Teaching Council. [Brisbane, Qld.]: Queensland University of Technology, Dept. of Teaching and Learning Support Services. 2009. ISBN 978-1-74107-254-9. OCLC 712112745.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ Cooper, Lesley. (2010). Work Integrated Learning : a Guide to Effective Practice. Orrell, Janice., Bowden, Margaret. Hoboken: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-203-85450-1. OCLC 609858835.
  4. ^ a b Turcotte, J.F., Nichols, L., Philipps, L. (2016) Maximizing Opportunity, Mitigating Risk: Aligning Law, Policy and Practice to Strengthen Work-Integrated Learning in Ontario Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.
  5. ^ Zegwaard, K. (2014). Work integrated learning. In S. Ferns (Ed.), Work Integrated Learning in the Curriculum (pp. 1-6). Milperra, N.S.W. Australia: HERDSA.
  6. ^ Freudenberg, Brett; Cameron, Craig; Brimble, Mark (2011). "The Importance of Self: Developing Students' Self Efficacy Through Work Integrated Learning". The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review. 17 (10): 479–496. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/cgp/v17i10/58816. hdl:10072/35742. ISSN 1447-9494.
  7. ^ Atkinson, Georgina. Work-Based Learning and Work-Integrated Learning : Fostering Engagement with Employers. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) (Australia). [Place of publication not identified]. ISBN 978-1-925173-59-8. OCLC 1066667378.
  8. ^ Jackson, Denise (2015-02-07). "Employability skill development in work-integrated learning: Barriers and best practice". Studies in Higher Education. 40 (2): 350–367. doi:10.1080/03075079.2013.842221. ISSN 0307-5079.