Workplace learning courses in Irish third‐level colleges

Margaret Linehan (Strategic Innovation Funds Project Unit, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland)
Irene Sheridan (Strategic Innovation Funds Project Unit, Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 7 August 2009



The purpose of this research is to ascertain data in relation to courses that are currently on offer in seven third‐level institutions in Ireland which include elements of workplace learning. It is intended that the research findings will contribute to the provision of new workplace learning programmes in Irish third‐level colleges.


A questionnaire was designed for this research and was administered in seven higher education colleges in Ireland. In total, 433 courses were examined in relation to workplace learning.


The findings illustrate that there is still an over‐reliance on the provision of traditional classroom‐based courses. The findings further suggest that, for the successful operation of workplace learning programmes, there is scope for developing further employer engagement with higher education colleges in the design, development and delivery of such programmes.

Practical implications

As a result of the data collected for this research, recommendations for implementing workplace learning programmes for both third‐level education providers and employers are included here.


The paper provides value by identifying courses in Irish third‐level colleges which include elements of workplace learning and suggests that an attitudinal and cultural shift must be engaged with to overcome the traditional reliance on classroom‐based programmes in order to successfully develop new workplace learning programmes.



Linehan, M. and Sheridan, I. (2009), "Workplace learning courses in Irish third‐level colleges", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 496-504.

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