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Stephen Billet

 Professor Stephen Billett, Griffith University, Australia

Work-integrated education: Contributions to learning and innovation

Contemporary workers are required to be occupationally adept, workplace competent and innovative. These requirements are in response to transformations in occupational practices, technologies, ways of working, the demand for occupations, and the products being manufactured and services being provided.

They extend the orthodox role of tertiary education from preparing graduates for an occupational practice to possessing workplace-specific competencies (i.e. being 'job ready') and abilities to innovate in, through and for work (i.e. being adaptable). Conceptually and practically, there is an interdependence between learning and innovation. Innovating occurs through a process of learning to know, do or value something in a different way: to generate a novel response or adapt to new circumstances. Implementing an innovation generated elsewhere also requires learning associated with adapting it to a specific workplace.

This suggests that work-integrated education needs to find ways of preparing graduates with adaptable occupational capacities, abilities to be innovation and effective worklife learners. This presentation discusses the close alignment between these emerging challenges for tertiary education and how work-integrated education can be organised and enacted to promote both student learning and innovative capacities. This comprise a long-standing goal for education per se. That is, focusing the goals for tertiary education on adaptive practices – that is applying what individuals have learnt to know, do and value to different circumstances.

All of this requires a consideration of how learning progresses through these activities, identifying curriculum and pedagogic practices that support the development of those practices in both educational programs and workplace experiences, and promoting students' personal epistemologies to have a strong emphasis on adaptive capacities.

Senast uppdaterad av Eva Erkmar