Integrating professional learning experiences across university and practice settings
This chapter identifies and discusses ways to maximise the educational benefits of providing and integrating experiences in practice settings within tertiary education programs. It does so through adopting a broad curriculum perspective and focussing on developing the capacities required for effective professional practice. The goal of effective professional preparation is now of growing importance as, in many countries with advanced industrial economies, higher education provisions are directed towards specific occupational outcomes. Moreover, the provision and integration of practice-based experiences are seen as a way of securing that goal (Cooper, Orrell & Bowden 2010). Indeed, there are now growing expectations that higher education institutions will provide these experiences in preparing students who will be ready to proceed smoothly into their selected occupations upon graduation. Rightly or wrongly, such outcomes are now commonly anticipated by students, industry and professional bodies, governments and organisations that employ graduates (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 2010). Whilst such demands are problematic, contestable and described by some pejoratively as comprising higher vocational education, they represent a line of continuity that has long shaped higher education. That is, there has always been a strong alignment between higher education provisions and occupational outcomes (Roodhouse 2007), albeit either through their direct focus on the major professions or through so called liberal arts degrees that afforded somewhat explicit but no less successful pathways to well-paid occupations in the public service, clergy etc. However, in many countries this alignment is shaped by direct associations with specific occupations and with unprecedented quantum of students within mass higher education systems.
International Handbook of Research in Professional and Practice-based Learning
Technical, Further and Workplace Education