Partnerships between universities and workplaces: some challenges for work-integrated learning
Studies in Continuing Education
Under contemporary highly competitive markets, organizations are demanding that any investment in learning be converted into productive outcomes that rapidly progress the organisation towards pre-defined strategic goals. A customised work integrated learning curriculum has the potential to achieve such productive outcomes because it allows learners to quickly contextualize the study content within the socio-cultural and functional environment of the workplace. However, the development of a work
... velopment of a work integrated learning curriculum relies on genuine partnerships between the universities and organisations. These types of partnerships require lengthy processes of negotiating the curriculum and pedagogies to support learning based in the workplace. Predictably such partnerships challenge the traditional roles of the universities as transmitters of discipline specific knowledge, and the workplace as less active partners in the learning processes and products. This paper is based on a case study and relates the challenges of developing a partnership, the transformed role of the academics, and a more complex design and facilitation of the curriculum. What became evident was that such a partnership was problematic and demanded re-distribution of knowledge-power relations between the university and the host organisation. The findings substantiate that successful work integrated learning that meet the needs of individuals and their workplaces is premised on a learning partnership where the roles for the curriculum and pedagogy are genuinely shared. That such partnerships are integral to successful work integrated learning and deeply problematic, begs for more research to understand the dynamics and ways to approach learning partnerships between universities and organisations.