A Review of Work Based Learning in Higher Education

Little, Brenda and Brennan, John (1996). A Review of Work Based Learning in Higher Education. Department for Education and Employment, Sheffield.


The idea of work based learning in higher education might sound like a contradiction in terms. Work based learning is surely in the the workplace. The senses in which it might also, under certain conditions, be in higher education are explored in this review. There are increasing arrangements whereby people can obtain academic recognition for learning which has taken place outside of educational institutions. In addition to traditional forms of professional education and sandwich courses, one can add a host of relationships between employers and higher education institutions which involve quite fundamental questioning of the roles and responsibilities of each in the continuing education and training of adults. Such developments can be related to broader themes concerning the organisation of knowledge in society, the changing nature of work and career, the learning society and the implications they hold for individual workers, their employers and educational providers.

The Department for Education and Employment sponsored the study to produce a substantial literature review of progress and issues raised in the field of work based learning in higher education. The first part of the book provides a contextual and conceptual backdrop against which more practical aspects of work based learning are then considered in part two. The final part considers strategic issues of implementation for higher education institutions, employers and individuals, before turning to more wide ranging issues of policy.

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