Integrative learning brings together theory and practice in the workplace or professional context. The ‘theory-practice nexus’ is simply the site in which theoretical ideas or disciplinary techniques and skills which were learnt in class, are developed and applied in the real world.
Assessment is the process of gathering information and evidence about a student’s performance for the purposes of either supporting or accrediting learning. Assessment serves different purposes including providing support for learning through feedback on performances and providing accreditation of achievement through marking against criteria and standards. More broadly, assessment results in the aggregate that can also be used to inform design, re-design and evaluate WIL activities.
Preparation activities consist of introductory and practical activities that assist in getting the student ready for the WIL experience. Regardless of the type of WIL activity e.g. placement, an industry/community project on or off campus, fully online or a combination, students need to be prepared to engage and work with industry and/or community partners.
Preparation activities should also extend to preparing the industry/community partner to host WIL students to ensure their involvement in WIL meets all stakeholders’ needs and expectations.
Supervision is the monitoring of the student learning experience, progress and practice during a WIL activity. Industry/community partners and WIL practitioners from universities collaborate in administering, managing, observing, educating, supporting and supervising the student’s progress throughout the WIL activity. Supervision is a complex interpersonal activity that involves numerous activities and functions.
Debrief is the process of having a conversation with the student and industry/community partner (separately or together if appropriate) after the WIL activity. The debrief focuses on reflections on the experience, the learning and/or the design and management of the process.
The purpose of debrief is to structure deliberate opportunities for the student and industry/community partner to ‘download’ and examine aspects of the experience and reflect upon these. The purposes are dual. One is for the benefit of the students; and the other is for the improvement and quality assurance of the WIL activity design and process. The student benefits from reflecting on the learning and the opportunity to divulge or explore unexpected feelings that have arisen as a consequence of the experience. Debrief, when thoughtfully planned and organised, can inform both learning and evaluation of the WIL activity.