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Extending and embedding work‐based learning across the university : Change strategies in action

Barbara A. Workman (Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, London, UK)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to discuss some of the higher education learning and teaching development strategies used to implement a university‐wide project to extend and embed work‐based learning (WBL) across all four university schools as part of a Centre for Excellence project in Teaching and Learning (CETL).


The paper considers the change and engagement strategies that were used and gives a flavour of the range of activities that were undertaken to integrate different modes of WBL into all the university schools. Different change approaches are considered in relation to how WBL pedagogies were adopted in different subject disciplines and are examples of approaches to introducing WBL into subject areas not previously involved. Factors which facilitated the embedding of WBL into subject disciplines will be considered in relation to the implications for future higher educational development projects. These factors include support and involvement at senior management level, the use of demonstrator projects within distinct areas as illustrations of good practice, and funding support from the Centre for Excellence for projects.


Effective embedding of WBL requires high‐level champions as well as innovators and risk takers who are educational developers to apply the change approaches within their own discipline in order to bring about change. Funding of educational evaluations and small projects encouraged engagement of educational developers.

Practical implications

Undertaking change in a higher education institution needs to consider the type of institution and the opportunities that present themselves through university policies and personal and professional networks, and to capitalise on the opportunities that are offered. Additionally, the use of funds and other inducements can ease reluctance to engage, and modelling of successful outcomes encourages further engagement.


This CETL was unusual in that it was pan‐university and endeavoured to share good practice and embed WBL across all subject disciplines. The paper demonstrates a range of change strategies that were used and offers practical examples of effective ways of involving a university in WBL.



Workman, B.A. (2011), "Extending and embedding work‐based learning across the university : Change strategies in action", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 106-117.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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