The effects of a work-integrated learning course in Exercise Science on students’ perceived work self-efficacy
Field Project B is a final semester course in the three-year Bachelor of Exercise science at Griffith University that provides both career development learning (CDL) and work-integrated learning (WIL) in order to produce successful work-ready graduates. The course provides a practical model for university academics and career development practitioners to work collaboratively by engaging students in active and personalized learning experiences to maximize their employment potential for optimal economic and social outcomes (Reddan & Rauchle, 2012). CDL needs to be integrated into programs as most students will not voluntarily seek it out (Reddan, 2008). Filed Project B involves 13 two-hour workshops in which students are introduced to professional and personal techniques in order to assist them to gain entry into and function successfully in the workplace, in addition to a 140-hour work experience placement. The workshops include presentations by representatives from various industries in which Exercise Science graduates might seek employment, as well as CDL workshops covering topics such as career planning, job search, resume, applications, selection criteria, interviews and mock interviews. Students are required to apply the theory of job search strategies to real-life challenges by identifying a suitable graduate job, preparing a job application, selection criteria response and resume tailored to the position and then participating in a mock interview process. The mock interview process provides students with the opportunity to learn about interview performance in a significant way by playing the roles of both interviewer and applicant in a supported environment. The potential importance of the self-concept and self-esteem to vocational behaviour has long been recognized (Leong & Barak, 2001). More recently research has focused on the construct of self-efficacy, which refers to an individual’s beliefs in their ability to perform a particular behaviour. This particular research will consider how the course experiences affected the development of students’ work self-efficacy through the use of the Work Self-efficacy Inventory (Raelin, 2010). The Inventory measures students’ responses across seven dimensions including: learning, problem-solving, teamwork, sensitivity, politics, pressure and role expectations. The theoretical underpinning of the Inventory is that individuals with higher work self-efficacy are more likely to engage, and be successful, in workplace performance. Bates, Bates and Thompson (2013) found that students believed that their abilities to participate constructively in their professional work context significantly improved as a result of their placement experience in four of the seven dimensions. This study will replicate procedures in a different discipline to determine how alternative course and placement structures affect work self-efficacy. The results will assist the identification of elements of work self-efficacy that are developed through WIL programs to assist tertiary educators design more effective programs and further improve students’ work self-efficacy.
National Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (NAGCAS)
Vocational Education and Training Curriculum and Pedagogy