WIL and Generic Skill Development: The Development of Business Students' Generic Skills Through Work-Integrated Learning
Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 79-93, 2011
17 Pages Posted: 25 May 2011
Date Written: May 24, 2011
Higher education stakeholders have expressed growing concern about teaching and learning performance and outcomes in business education. The emerging gap between graduate attributes and what industry requires not only refers to the lack of employment readiness of students, but also their generic skills. One technique that can assist in improving students’ development of generic skills is work-integrated learning (WIL). WIL presents a challenge both in its formation and implementation for an Australian higher education system characterised by limited resources, large and diverse student cohorts, and the ever-present ‘publish or perish’ paradigm that draws lecturers’ attention away from teaching and learning activities.
To address this concern, a professional development program (the ‘PD Program’) was developed. The PD Program is integrated into a business degree program and is designed to systematically develop students’ learning, employment and generic skills, and supplement their theoretical studies. This article details the procedures that have been developed, and provides preliminary evidence on the impact of the first part of the PD Program on students’ generic skill development over 12 months. It is argued that those students involved in the PD Program demonstrate significant gains in both their generic skills and associated recognition of the importance of generic skills development to their studies and professional lives compared to students who did not participate in the PD Program. These results highlight the potential gain for universities from investing the necessary resources to develop WIL opportunities for their students to assist in the development of generic skills.
Keywords: work-integrated learning, generic skills, professional development, graduate attributes, employability
JEL Classification: I20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation