Preparation for international sports-based WIL

Case Studies | Disciplines


Flinders Univsersity


Dr Deb Agnew and Ms Elizabeth Abery on behalf of Assoc. Prof Shane Pill, Assoc. Prof Kerry Bissaker, Prof. Janice Orrell, Dr Samantha Schulz and Mr Daniel Mather, Flinders University

Dr Deb Agnew and Ms Elizabeth Abery on behalf of Assoc. Prof Shane Pill, Assoc. Prof Kerry Bissaker, Prof. Janice Orrell, Dr Samantha Schulz and Mr Daniel Mather, Flinders University

Industry Placement Field Project is a core unit of the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity. New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants provided the opportunity for students to complete an international placement in the area of sport development in India (2016; 2017) and Vanuatu (2017).

A preparation program to support these students has been developed that includes modules and resources specific to the international placement destination. These include self-awareness, health and wellbeing, successful entrepreneurship, intercultural sensitivity and country of placement orientation.

The resource pack includes matters pertaining to international travel requirements, health and safety, and places of interest in the international destination.

Teaching netball in India video

Full details of 'Preparation for international sports-based WIL'

Length of time the WIL activity has been/was in operation           

Successful New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants were granted in 2015 for India and 2016 for Vanuatu and provided funding for each project for three years. As a result of this funding the first cohort of students to undertake an international sport development placement was in 2016 for India and in 2017 for India and Vanuatu and will continue annually for the duration of the funding.

Who benefits from the WIL activity?

Providing opportunities for students to undertake an international WIL experience in sport development and purposefully preparing them for the realities of intercultural and international experiences will support student preparedness and lead to more innovative and entrepreneurial students within the sport industry. This can benefit employment outcomes for students plus support current industry diversity. The partner organisations and participants of the sport development projects will benefit from hosting well prepared students facilitating ongoing collaborations. Other areas of this university and other universities who participate in international placements are positioned to benefit from the resources and applicability of the program content.

How does the WIL activity demonstrate good practice and/or innovation?           

Offering international placement opportunities is a growing trend and the need for preparation acknowledged but often generic in application. This program is innovative in that it is specific to the country of destination and focuses on sport development programs in low socio-economic countries. As such it addresses the unique feature of providing a specific but transferable program for international placement preparation that in addition deliberately incorporates developing and enhancing graduate capabilities in entrepreneurship and socio-cultural capability. It demonstrates good practice as it uses a student centered approach with content being developed based on the experiences of the first cohort of students.

How adaptable is the WIL activity to other disciplines, sectors, teaching practices etc?

The format of the program, and module and resource pack content allows for it to be easily adapted other disciplines and universities that offer international placement opportunities. In 2017 4 students from the New Zealand Polytech University have completed the modules online as they will join the Flinders University students on the 2017 trip to India, thereby testing the adaptability of the program to other universities.

How sustainable is the WIL activity beyond its immediate implementation?       

The program modules contain professionally video recorded content that can be accessible in subsequent years of the program, which create a sustainable resource for future student groups and other areas within the university that utilise international WIL placements. The sustainability of the resource pack occurs through the production of the resources in both hard copy and also electronic format enabling simple updating as needed.

How is the success of the WIL activity evaluated?              

This placement program is evaluated through both research and through student feedback. Students complete a reflective journal on their experience, along with a formal evaluation of the placement organisation. Upon returning from India or Vanuatu the students also take part in a debrief session with academic staff. The experience is formally evaluated through the use of photo-voice elicitation methods by an independent academic staff member who has no role in the management of the placement topic. The international placement organisations also complete a reflection on the success of the program each year from their perspective.

What are the wider impacts of the WIL activity beyond completion?

This program will contribute to the continued development of a mature and authentic partnership model that represents best practice for WIL programs in sport in Australia that choose to include an international placement. This program has developed resources that will contribute to the development of sports graduates who (1) have entrepreneurial dispositions skills and knowledge, (2) have an informed appreciation of the role sport can play in economically and socially challenged communities and (3) have identified and extended their own strengths and capabilities in regard to be leading sporting activities in culturally diverse communities.

How does the WIL activity approach the preparation, implementation and reflection phases of WIL?

This program specifically focuses on the preparation for the implementation of international sport development projects. Students complete 6 modules which have been identified as relevant and important considerations for the successful completion of the program. Sessions are completed both face to face and online and must be completed before the students depart. Students reflect on their experience through both photo-voice elicitation methods as well as a reflective journal while they are in country. Following their international placement students also complete an oral presentation reflecting on their experience, what they have learnt and how their skills have been developed.

What are the learning outcomes of the WIL activity and how do they link to graduate attributes?

Learning outcomes specific to the program modules include: identification of cultural beliefs and values, articulation of cross cultural dispositions and associated professional behaviour, maintaining health and wellbeing while on an international placement, sport program development, management and sustainability, entrepreneurship through community engagement and initiative while on placement and creative sourcing of fund raising prior to placement for additional resources and equipment needed, and synthesis of placement experience through reflection. All learning outcomes align with current university graduate attributes being students who: are knowledgeable, can apply their knowledge, communicate effectively, can work independently and collaboratively, value ethical behaviour and connect across boundaries.

What are the plans for the WIL activity in the future?

The need for the program in its current format is dependent on international placement opportunities continuing. Currently these opportunities are supported by funding through the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grants for three years as of 2016. Due to the popularity and success of the international sport development placements, once this funding expires other opportunities will be explored.

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