Developing the Field of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in Higher Education: A Curricular Approach

56 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013

Date Written: November 5, 2013


The goal of the research is to develop a unified description of the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Curriculum and a cross-disciplinary curricular framework that identifies the elements and the relationships between them. This research combined scoping study and curriculum inquiry methods and featured three cycles of data analysis and two types of curriculum theorization. Data sources included a literature review, a survey, expert interviews, and a focus group. In theorizing the WIL Curriculum in higher education, the authors develop a definition of the WIL curriculum and on the basis of this definition, put forward a unified curricular framework, as recommended by Cooper et al. (2010). It begins with a WIL schema to provide an underlying organizational structure that outlines the relationships between fundamental actors and factors in the WIL Curriculum and describes twelve shared dimensions of WIL which are defined in relationship to their function in WIL curriculum development. The authors also propose a template for curriculum development in WIL and Community Service Learning (CSL). Finally, based on the data analysis and on patterns found to occur in the cross-disciplinary data, the authors developed eight curriculum models: Awareness, Application, Competency, Synthesis, Deconstruct-Reconstruct, Iterative Reflection, Research-Based, and Problem-Based Models. The WIL models that are advanced in this research provide a starting place for further inquiry, curriculum development and research.

Keywords: work integrated learning, higher education curriculum, experiential learning, work experience, field placement

Suggested Citation

Rosse, Stephanie and Browne, Nancy, Developing the Field of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in Higher Education: A Curricular Approach (November 5, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

Stephanie Rosse

MacEwan University ( email )

P.O. Box 1796
Rm 5-256F
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2P2 T5J4S2

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