Unpacking the learning–work nexus: ‘priming’ as lever for high-quality learning outcomes in work-integrated learning curricula

  • Smith C
  • Worsfold K
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Abstract

This paper describes the impacts of work-integrated learning (WIL) curriculum components on general employability skills – professional work-readiness, self-efficacy and team skills. Regression analyses emphasise the importance of the ‘authenticity’ of WIL placements for the development of these generic outcomes. Other curricula factors (alignment of learning activities and assessments with integrative learning, and the provision of supportive environments) also impact on generic outcomes. We explore three competing hypotheses for explaining the relationships between learning outcomes and authenticity on the one hand and the alignment of learning activities and assessments with integrative learning outcomes on the other: overlapping, proxy protective factor and mediation. We conclude that mediation is a plausible explanation for the observed relationships, based on an invocation of ‘availability heuristics’ and ‘priming’ to explain how these factors work together. Findings will have implications for the design and management of WIL curricula in universities. [ABSTRACT FROM PUBLISHER]

Author-supplied keywords

  • evaluation
  • generic skills
  • learning outcomes
  • mediation
  • proxy protective factors
  • work placements
  • work-integrated learning

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