Interactive Work -Based Learning Environment The University of Westminster has a long -standing history of educating for professional life and supports research into employability and the practice of work -based learning. Since April 2009, Westminster Business School and its Business Experience and International Unit (BEIU) have been delivering the JISC funded project called 'Interactive Work -Based Learning Environments' (iWoBLE). The project is providing a managed Blackboard site for tutors to interact with students on work placements, mentoring and internships programmes. In addition the same Blackboard site can be accessed by employers and so there is potential to better manage the relationship between the University and business sectors through the use of technology rather than paper.
“I am learning so much everyday through online interaction!”
“Considering blogging: If employers know what students are looking for, it is very easy to provide them with what they need.” Dr Aalok Y Shukla BDS(Lon) Clinical Director aesthetics
“I am so pleased that interactive learning environments are being developed to enhance the work performance of students!” Bernadette Langan
- WBS Placement Tutor
“Using online tools like Blogs, Wikis and e portfolios is a part of the education.”
George Ife - Alabi - placement student
Groups and Activities - Students (48 -week long placements for undergraduate students, 3 months long internships for PG students, Semester long mentoring pairings) - Academics - Employers - Coordinators iWoBLE can benefit users by providing them with virtual tools and resources which can be shared with other Schools and with other institutions in Further and Higher Education. Placements, Mentoring and Internships students as well as Instructors, tutors and employers are using blogs, wikis, Wimba and discussion boards in order to enhance information flow and to support work -based learning process.
Outputs and Future Development
To create working online communities that will allow participants to immediately capture/record reflections, communicate ideas and provide feedback on work -based learning – these will underpin face -to-face interactions.
Operational Blackboard sites for Placements, Mentoring and Internships programmes.
To provide forums for learning and exchange, wherein stakeholders (employers, students and tutors) can contribute to the development of the work -based and lifelong learning activities of the University. To create a framework for other Schools and institutions to consider and apply. To enhance employer engagement as well as placement and mentoring relationships. To address 21 st century education policy in relation to knowledge worker skills: Digital literacy, Evolving multimedia, Problem solving, Innovation management, Learning technology.
Tailored user guides uploaded to usersites. Training/demonstration sessions offered to users. More mature institutional integration of IT systems facilitating the inclusion of a broad range of externals with differing levels of online access. Training materials for workshops delivered by coordinating staff aimed at employers/mentors, tutors and students. Practical implementation handbook for use by Schools and the wider community for adaptation. Preparation of short video clips of students, employers and tutors talking about their mentoring experience and work placements focusing on virtual learning environment. The project’s main focus for the future is to research and meet needs of target groups within new higher education and business sectors to promote greater interaction, partnership and development across institutions through the interactive work -based learning environment.
Business Experience and International Unit (BEIU) Westminster Business School, University of Westminster Contact: Miss Magdalena Slowinska, Project Assistant, M.Slowinska@westminster.ac.uk https://sites.google.com/a/staff.westminster.ac.uk/iwoble/