Good WIL Hunting (An evidence-based framework for supporting quality WIL).
Learning through work is a key and long-standing part of health professions education. Despite the accepted importance of work-integrated learning (WIL) for students’ development, the design and implementation of WIL varies widely between professional programs and between institutions. This may be attributed to a lack of consensus about what constitutes WIL, let alone ‘effective WIL’. Through engaging with stakeholders across a large health faculty, representing 17 professional programs, we aimed to explore experiences and perspectives of WIL to develop a framework to inform design of WIL activities in our Faculty and potentially beyond.
In our project, a two-phase participatory approach was taken. Phase 1 sought students’ perspectives using an online survey (n= 172). Phase 2 explored perspectives and practices of academic/clinical educator leads (n=13) using iterative focus groups and a benchmarking activity. Through engaging with stakeholders, we developed an actionable WIL framework based on 7 elements of ‘Good WIL.’ These elements focused on: equipping students to learn in the workplace, developing support structures which focus on WIL transition points in the curriculum, highlighting an intentional integration of learning and work, emphasising the clear and identifiable roles of students in the workplace, providing faculty development for and recognition of clinical educators, advocating for a comprehensive orientation to the training program for health services, and finally, utilising quality assurance measures for universities and health services that focus on an effective learning environment. Examples of learning activities derived from phases one and two are used to provide evidence for these elements of WIL design. This work enabled stakeholder involvement in the construction of a foundational framework to guide, and potentially evaluate WIL. The resultant framework, with empirically derived examples for each element, will support ‘WIL-focused’ curriculum design, faculty development and communication systems between workplace and the university. Other institutions may find the framework itself helpful in supporting their WIL design, or may choose to employ the two-phased methodological approach to develop tailored guidelines for their own context.
MDHS Faculty Learning and Teaching Seed Grant: $5,000.
Manuscripts in Preparation.
Denniston, C., Griffiths, L., Clement, T., & Molloy, E. Good WIL hunting: Accessing student & academic perspectives to develop a framework to optimise work integrated learning across the health professions. ANZAHPE annual conference (virtual): July 2021.