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Considerations in the design of WBL settings to enhance students’ employability

Considerations in the design of WBL settings to enhance students’ employability Purpose– A central aim of higher education is employability, in order to enable graduates to act in dynamic working environments. Internships as the prevalent work-based learning (WBL) settings offer such an opportunity during the studies; they are commonly used and broadly researched as interventions to improve students’ skills and competences. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influencing factors on students’ skills and competences that lead to employability in WBL settings. Design/methodology/approach– The paper provides a synthesis of relevant international empirical research on beneficial effects of the very common WBL setting, internship, to create a research framework across disciplines. Findings– The current research is characterized by a search for “best practices,” rather than a holistic and systematic view, acknowledging and taking into account different perspectives and their influence. It cannot sufficiently explain why employability in some WBL settings is enhanced more than in others. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the current understanding and evaluation of WBL as an experiential and situated learning experience. It is essential to take promotive factors from the university, the practical partner and the student perspective into account to understand employability enhancement. Based on these findings, a research framework for a holistic perspective on influencing factors of students’ employability is designed. Research limitations/implications– There is no empirical proof for the findings yet. Future empirical research may, therefore, be directed toward empirical testing of the impact of WBL settings. Originality/value– It is possible to infer recommendations for improving WBL settings from the three parties involved by interlinking situated and experiential theory. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Higher Education, Skills and Work-based Learning Emerald Publishing

Considerations in the design of WBL settings to enhance students’ employability

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2042-3896
DOI
10.1108/HESWBL-09-2014-0044
Publisher site
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Abstract

Purpose– A central aim of higher education is employability, in order to enable graduates to act in dynamic working environments. Internships as the prevalent work-based learning (WBL) settings offer such an opportunity during the studies; they are commonly used and broadly researched as interventions to improve students’ skills and competences. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influencing factors on students’ skills and competences that lead to employability in WBL settings. Design/methodology/approach– The paper provides a synthesis of relevant international empirical research on beneficial effects of the very common WBL setting, internship, to create a research framework across disciplines. Findings– The current research is characterized by a search for “best practices,” rather than a holistic and systematic view, acknowledging and taking into account different perspectives and their influence. It cannot sufficiently explain why employability in some WBL settings is enhanced more than in others. Therefore, it is necessary to expand the current understanding and evaluation of WBL as an experiential and situated learning experience. It is essential to take promotive factors from the university, the practical partner and the student perspective into account to understand employability enhancement. Based on these findings, a research framework for a holistic perspective on influencing factors of students’ employability is designed. Research limitations/implications– There is no empirical proof for the findings yet. Future empirical research may, therefore, be directed toward empirical testing of the impact of WBL settings. Originality/value– It is possible to infer recommendations for improving WBL settings from the three parties involved by interlinking situated and experiential theory.

Journal

Higher Education, Skills and Work-based LearningEmerald Publishing

Published: May 9, 2016

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