Impact of WIL • Research Design

Five studies were conducted to gather quantitative and qualitative data from employers, students and graduates to identify key components of a quality WIL program that enriches graduate skills. The design of the methodology and approaches for gathering data was based on a review of contemporary literature and consultation with partner institutions. The five studies were designed to ensure that collectively, the outcomes addressed the three research questions.

Research Questions

  1. What are the essential characteristics of WIL (e.g. authenticity, experiential learning) and how can these be measured validly across all types of WIL, whether placement-based or not?
  2. How should ‘work-readiness’ be conceptualized and measured as basis for National Standards for Quality Assurance?
  3. What Impact does WIL have on work-readiness across a range of WIL types, including alternatives to placement WIL, and in a range of disciplines?
Study 1 Cross-sectional Study

Purposes:

  1. Identify the range of employability-relevant curriculum experiences to which students were exposed and compare their relative impact on employability
  2. Validate measures of work-integrated learning and employability
  3. Develop a multi-dimensional measurement model for employability

Method:

First and final year students were invited to complete a 45 item online survey. The questions comprised a mix of demographic items and research measures. The research measures utilised a five-point scale. Research items focused on curriculum inputs (quality of placement measures, simulation measures, and career development learning measures) and employability outcomes.

Respondents:

3336 responses from 13 universities

Study 2 Proxy-longitudinal Study

Purpose

  1. Establish a more direct comparison of students who did and did not have a placement experience within a discipline area
  2. Reveal perceptions of work-readiness and impact of WIL

Method:

18 self-reported items intended to reveal participants’ level of ability in a range of skill and knowledge areas at three stages of their placements and two open ended questions

Respondents:

1499 students from nine institutions

Study 3 Alumni Interview Study

Purpose:

To identify aspects of WIL placements that positively influence work-readiness

Method:

15 minute telephone interviews

Respondents:

Ten recent graduates

Study 4 Employer Interview Study

Purpose:

Determine employers’ motives for accepting or declining student for WIL placements

Method:

Telephone interviews

Respondents:

13 employers from seven industries

Study 5 Employer Survey Study

Purpose:

Determine employers’ motives for accepting or declining student for WIL placements

Method:

10 item online survey consisting of quantitative questions and two open-ended questions

Respondents:

163 employers from 31 industries