Getting Started with Work-Based University Learning
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Nursing and Public Health
This paper describes the process used to embed work-based learning in the curriculum at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia. Project funding was used to generate an empowering, community development approach that included: the development of a university-wide discussion paper on work-based learning; linking work-based learning to policy through Edith Cowan University’s Strategic Plan; working with existing organisational structures to build corporate knowledge about work-based learning; staff development; the selection of key staff to model the implementation of work-based learning; the development of an employer data base; an employer launch and the creation of a web site to provide an ongoing resource for staff, students and employers. The significance of this paper is that it emphasises the importance of community development strategies in creating partnerships between industry and university curricula. The objectives of this paper are to define work-based university learning and to review the process of implementing curriculum change to promote it. The model of curriculum change used to introduce work-based learning initiatives at Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, is outlined. It was informed by community development processes originating in developing countries. As such, this paper addresses education without borders in two senses. Firstly, it addresses the border between university and work. Secondly, it crosses international borders to draw on global community development models and adapt them to curriculum change in a manner designed to achieve sustainable outcomes.