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Project based learning and work integrated learning : a mutual enhancement

conference contribution
posted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Robin HowardRobin Howard, David JorgensenDavid Jorgensen
Project Based Learning is a powerful model for the integration of work and learning in an educational institution environment. The successes of this approach have been well researched and documented. In 1994 following its own research into co-operative education, as work integrated learning was then known, Central Queensland University integrated co-operative education into their existing engineering programs. However, subsequent experience and research indicated this progressive practice learning approach required a new philosophy and approach to delivery of the academic on-campus course components of the program. Extensive national and international research into, and studies of, alternative learning paradigms identified new learning philosophies and processes. One in particular, Project (or Problem) Based Learning, seemed to address the perceived pressing need to replace the traditional passive lecture/tutorial approach to learning that was prevalent in the existing engineering programs. Integrated learning through academic and co-operative education is now enhanced through contextual, project based learning in the classroom. The research also recognised that incorporating a project based approach to the on campus element of the curriculum, should better prepare students for their co-operative industry placements. It was anticipated (and has subsequently been shown) that this pedagogical change would ultimately result in more industry ready engineers. This paper looks at the researching, study and ultimate incorporation of project based learning, using real industry projects as the basis for the development of knowledge, skills and attitudes, in the on campus learning environment. It discusses the research and issues that arose in the development and delivery of curriculum, to ensure that the on campus learning informs, supports and enhances the industry based learning, and vice versa. The lessons learned in this engineering curriculum development are transferable to any discipline.


Category 1 - Australian Competitive Grants (this includes ARC, NHMRC)


Parent Title

World Association of Co-operative Education (WACE) Asia Pacific Conference on Work-Integrated Learning 2006 : promoting experience exchange on work-integrated learning between East and West.

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Shanghai, China


World Association of Co-operative Education

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • No

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Name of Conference

World Association for Cooperative Education. Asia-Pacific Conference