Exploring the development and assessment of work-readiness using reflective practice in construction education

  • Mills A
  • Wingrove D
  • McLaughlin P
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Abstract

It is well known that the construction industry is characterized by the need for practical knowledge and skill. However, this creates special challenges for universities in the development of work readiness in graduates. This research investigates the attitudes of students towards a course which was designed to develop work-readiness skills in construction management. The paper focuses on the distinctive issues associated with Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) using a formally assessed industry-mentored course of study. Past research shows that university degrees should promote reflective thinking since, in construction, it is necessary to make reflective judgements which deal with ill-defined problems. This is a generic capability that is needed by all graduates in knowledge-based occupations. The study utilized reflective practice to examine the perceptions of construction management students towards the development of attributes which were known to improve work skills. The students were asked to capture their reflections on their experiences in the form of reflective diaries, which were prepared weekly throughout the course. The results showed that the students expressed very positive views about their learning experiences. This occurred in spite of the challenges caused by the formal assessment processes that were undertaken as part of the course. This paper compares the student perceptions with the teachers' reflections on the ability of traditional assessment methods to measure graduate attributes and work-readiness. The research explores the issues associated with assessing work-readiness skills in higher education. The findings suggest that student reflection is a necessary precondition to the development of effective work-readiness. In addition, the research concludes that more non-traditional assessment approaches are needed in construction programmes in order to develop the type of graduate required by the industry.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Student engagement
  • Work-integrated learning
  • Work-ready graduates

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  • SGR: 84861046463
  • ISBN: 0955239044
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-84861046463
  • PUI: 364812538

Authors

  • Anthony Mills

  • Dallas Wingrove

  • Patricia McLaughlin

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