Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Guidelines for the Design of Work-Integrated Learning Topics

Establishment:Academic Senate, 8 September 2010
Last Amended:
Nature of Amendment:
Date Last Reviewed:
Responsible Officer:Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)


1.  Purpose

The purpose of these guidelines is to inform the design of Work-Integrated Learning topics and activities, so as to ensure that the provisions of the Policy on Work-Integrated Learning are met.


2.  Guidelines

Where course objectives provide for the acquisition of skills and knowledge through work experience, that work experience must be intentional, directed, integrated with teaching, undertaken interactively and reflectively, and assessed. Work-Integrated Learning topics are made available for this purpose. 


Work-Integrated Learning Topic Design

Topics including a form of Work-Integrated Learning should be made available to students in all undergraduate courses and where relevant in postgraduate courses, and must be developed in accordance with relevant University policy. They may take one or more of the following four forms: 

1.  Directed work experience in an industry or professional workplace

This will normally involve a supervised field placement, practicum or an internship, where the student is engaged in work and located in a workplace typical of the profession for which their course of study is preparing them. The intended outcome is that, on completion of the course, students already have experience in the kind of workplace they anticipate entering. Such experience may be required for professional accreditation on course completion, and Work-Integrated Learning topic design must be cognisant of professional accreditation requirements. A Work-Integrated Learning placement can include any educational work experience established by the University to integrate theoretical learning from a course of study with its practical application, and which involves a separate teaching element, the University’s support of students and its assessment of their performance. The University’s support must extend to organising student placements, interacting with them, monitoring their work and progress, and assessing their work throughout. 

2.  Simulated workplace settings on campus

Where placement in a typical workplace is unavailable or impractical, the University may provide a simulated workplace where students can carry out work comparable with that carried out in a typical workplace. The intended outcome is that, on completion of the course, students have experience in a relevant workplace. In cases where placement in professional work situations cannot be arranged, Work-Integrated Learning topics should be designed to provide for placements in settings that simulate professional work situations as realistically as possible.

3.  Generic work experience topics available as electives

Such topics will be structured in a similar manner to those designed to offer directed work experience in industry or a professional workplace, but the topic aims and objectives will not be specific to any discipline or profession.

4.  Assessment activities designed to simulate authentic workplace activities

This form of Work-Integrated Learning involves assessment activities that are designed to test students’ ability to apply knowledge and skills. The intended outcome is that students have experience in applying acquired knowledge and skills to the solution of real-world problems. These topics may be designed to include standard assessment exercises to be undertaken by all students or they may be designed to permit individual negotiation and approval of assessment exercises between students and topic coordinators, depending on the students’ needs and interests, provided that the topic objectives are met.

Phases of Work-Integrated Learning Placements

In the forms of Work-Integrated Learning that involve placement in a real or simulated workplace, the topic should be designed to incorporate the following three phases of activity, to maximise the benefits achieved: 

  • Preparatory phase: the activities undertaken prior to a student’s commencement at the site of the Work-Integrated Learning placement, when the objectives, intentions and approaches are set, the placement is negotiated and students are provided with required information concerning the placement,
  • Placement phase: the activities during the time at the Work-Integrated Learning placement site, when the approach is applied in practice, and the outcomes are observed and evaluated,
  • Retrospective phase: those activities logically following the previous phase, especially reflective learning from the placement, ideally through some form of report or presentation.

The Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching will provide assistance and advice to staff in the development and operation of Work-Integrated Learning.