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Work integrated learning in reverse: Case study of the Murdoch Business School

Holloway, D.A. and Holloway, D.J. (2012) Work integrated learning in reverse: Case study of the Murdoch Business School. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2012: Creating an inclusive learning environment: Engagement, equity, and retention, 2 - 3 February 2012, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A.


This paper introduces a new form of work integrated learning (WIL), one where students' previous experiences in the workplace are used as a basis for the integration of further conceptual and theoretical learnings. At a university level, WIL usually refers to practicums, internships and placements which enable students to develop work based skills, integrate theory with workplace practice, apply theoretically learned problem solving skills in the 'real world' and effectively become exposed to, and socialised into, the practices and expectations of the profession in which they are studying.

The case study of the Murdoch Business School applied this concept in reverse. Students were required to use their existing work-based experiences to question the applicability of the University learning they had undertaken in business-related topic areas. Learning outcomes were focussed on students evaluating and reflecting on the 'authenticity' and relevance of their University-based learning when mapped against their current 'real world' work experiences. The students were asked to assess, question and integrate their individual (and collective) work-based experiences and acquired real-life knowledge with their business-based university learning.

The students reported a universally positive assessment of the unit. They concluded that the learning topics within the unit had provided them with critical and personally useful insights into their own and the wider work environment. It also led to a deeper questioning of the university learning that they had received within their Business majors.

A final question remains unresolved: does such a unit fit legitimately within the taxonomy of acceptable WIL definitions?

Keywords: work integrated learning; student centred learning; reverse mapping; integration of learning and practice

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Murdoch Business School
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