Maximising learning outcomes from student work experiences in the Australian higher education sector is the focus of a new project which aims to provide valuable insights into how to best secure graduate employment.
The multi-partner, multidisciplinary project has recently been awarded a prestigious 2015 Office for Learning and Teaching Innovation and Development Grant, valued at $467,000.
The project, Augmenting students’ learning for employability through post-practicum educational processes, is headed by Griffith’s School of Education and Professional Studies Professor Stephen Billett.
Professor Billet says the project aims to maximise learning outcomes from university students’ experiences in workplace practicums, internships and placements.
“These experiences have the potential to develop a range of understandings, capacities and values which may not be possible to develop through their university courses alone,” he says.
“As increasing numbers of students engage in these kinds of arrangements, which come at a range of institutional and personal costs, it’s important to maximise these experiences.
“The project’s central goal is to identify how educational interventions can enrich students’ practical experiences in developing the capacities required to effectively transition to employment upon graduation.”
The project will initially involve engaging with a range of disciplines from the university healthcare sector to identify processes that effectively use students’ workplace experiences once these have been completed.
A range of these processes will then be trialled over two semesters to evaluate their usefulness.
After this appraisal period, other participants from outside healthcare disciplines will use those processes in their courses and programs.
The overall aim is to engage those teaching in a range of disciplines across up to 15 Australian universities in these activities, and share the findings of their experiences and the student outcomes arising from them.
Professor Billett says the project recognises that the kinds of experiences students have in work settings are essential elements of their higher education.
“The project seeks to engage with, capture, share and use those experiences for important educational outcomes associated with developing occupational capacities,” he says.
“A strong focus of this research is aligning student outcomes with the requirements to be effective in their selected careers.”
Research results are anticipated to be released in July 2017 with an additional two-year participant engagement process to further refine the usefulness of these interventions.
Other partners involved in the research include Flinders University, Monash University, Notre Dame University and the University of Newcastle and Gold Coast Hospital Health Service.