The 12 points below originates from a summary and explanation by Annie Murphy Paul about a recent report on the science of training. She points out that there are right ways and wrong ways (myths) regarding how to design, deliver, and implement training. I adapted the 12 points to work-integrated learning (WIL):
- It’s what happens before and after WIL that matters. Universities should clearly communicate to students what the WIL is about and how it relates to curriculum of the qualification and the day one competencies expected from graduates.
- The WIL guidelines should clearly specify what a student need-to-be master versus learning where and how to find information rather than be expected to retain all information in memory.
- WIL would be more effective when it’s presented as an opportunity of which the benefits to students are emphasised.
- Decay of skills acquired during WIL may be reduced by giving students subsequent opportunities to practice the skills and/or refresher orientation upon employment.
- Workplace mentors could increase the motivation of students by making clear the link between what is being taught during WIL and how it will be used in the careers of students.
- The best WIL occurs through the practice in the workplace and feedback by workplace mentors — the effectiveness of WIL can be increase by making the process more active and engaging for students.
- Mentors should be made aware that unstructured practice by students without clear objectives; without relevant stimulation; and without appropriate feedback can teach students wrong lessons. Students “will get the most out of practice when they are provided with constructive and timely feedback that identifies what they may be doing wrong and how to fix it”.
- Superficial exposure during WIL leads to poor retention and poor transfer; whereas deep learning promotes retention and transfer.
- There is value—both strategically and emotionally—in teaching students to cope with errors made. Workplace mentors should guide students to correct mistakes made which will help students to understand the task in greater depth and will help them deal with errors on the job.
- Technology and contemporary gadgetry would not necessary improve WIL. However, if implemented appropriately it may add to the effectiveness of WIL.
- Left to their own devices, students “may not be knowledgeable or motivated enough to make wise decisions about how and what to learn”, sound guidance is important.
- The “psychological fidelity—how accurately it evokes the feelings and the responses the worker will have on the job” of simulations is more important than physical fidelity a student will encounter as worker on the job.
Salas, E.; Tannenbaum, S.I.; Kraiger, K. & Smith-Jentsch, K.A. 2012. The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13(2) 74–101.