At the Centre for Work Related Studies we are celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) programme. WBIS is an example of a 'shell framework'- a pre-validated which allows learners, either as individuals or organisations to negotiate their own award and programme of learning. The WBIS framework is a university wide programme although most students using it do so through CWRS. To complete their programme students can bring in past learning, whether certificated or experiential and combine it with current experiential learning in the workplace and/or 'taught' modules- that is modules in conventional subject disciplines. They can choose from a very large list: it incudes any module accredited by the university, modules developed by CWRS or create new ones tailored to their requirements. The only constraints are that all learning must be relevant to the professional/workplace requirements of the learner, the university must be able to provide underpinning expertise for learning and that the modules are of the appropriate level and part of a coherent programme of learning.
When originally validated in 1998 there were just six students. Today there are over a thousand in CWRS and another 500 in the rest of the university. Most students now are not individual learners but are part of cohorts where the curriculum is negotiated on their behalf by employers and training organisations. In most instances these 'co-delivery partners' are responsible for delivery and first assessment while CWRS retains responsibility for second marking and Quality Assurance. During the twenty years of WBIS existence there have been significant external shocks, especially the 2008 crash which saw the loss of many, especially public sector clients. However WBIS has proved resilient and today the programme is healthy, both in terms of the number of students it recruits and the increasing number of research outputs.
We mentioned at the conference in June that we would try to organise a new website for the Work and Learning Network. This site has now been agreed by...
A new website for the UALL Work and Learning Network