Approaching Work Integrated Learning through Learning Outcomes and Evaluations

Approaching Work Integrated Learning through Learning Outcomes and Evaluations

Daniel Einarson

By work based learning (WBL) we often mean educational forms, especially projects, where industrial participants are more or less involved in the students’ work. Typically, the industrial participants stand for problem statements, guidance and feedback, and being receivers of project results. WBL relate well to Integrated Learning Experiences (CDIO Standard 7), and Active Learning (Standard 8), to students’ employability, and to the core of CDIO concerning industry-oriented training. Obviously, academia is gained by including WBL in educational programs. Still, experiences show resistance towards that, probably due to several reasons, including difficulties in establishing sustainable structures for industry contacts, uncertainties according ownership of project work, and lack of academic control of required learning outcomes (LO) and course evaluations.

Demola is a collaborative open innovation platform for students, universities and companies, and has been elected the best cross-border and cross-sector innovator in the Baltic Sea Region ( vator-baltic-sea-region). Here, agreements between universities, students, and companies are based on well-established contracts where aspects, such as project ownership, are handled. Concepts of Demola include structures for process models, and interactions between students and companies. Amongst the responsibilities of the local Demola organization lies establishing sustainable structures for regional companies and universities to cooperate, where multi-disciplinary student teams develop innovative industry-oriented products.

It seems that Demola clarifies several points of uncertainties related to WBL, and thus may work well as a platform for this. Further unclear aspects relate to universities’ demands on obligations concerning LO and course evaluations. Therefore, the Demola concept needs to be extended in appropriate ways to live up to such demands. In order to be flexible, and work well in different national contexts, Demola should be gained by being correlated to a worldwide meta-level educational framework, rather than more restricted national frameworks. Here, CDIO, with its syllabus and standards, may serve as a fundament for that meta-level framework. Still, while being independent of national obligations, CDIO has been proven to correspond well to several national frameworks, such as ABET from the USA, CEAB from Canada, and the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance on engineering programs. This strengthens the choice of CDIO as a supportive model to Demola even more. Moreover, ZEFsurvey ( is an advanced tool for making two dimensional, multi-valued surveys, where activities are ongoing in the order to use ZEFsurvey as an inherent part of Demola course evaluations. To further serve as a valuable foundation for WBL, a well-defined set of the CDIO Syllabus LO should be chosen, where those should be appropriately matched by the ZEFsurvey.

The aim of this contribution is to propose a set of LO from CDIO Syllabus to be integrated as an inherent part of Demola, and map that set the ZEFsurvey-tool. This set will also be matched against the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance to show how Demola, through the use of CDIO, as a worldwide independent framework, may adapt to national educational frameworks. Brief overviews of Demola, and ZEFsurvey will be provided, as well as an illustration of use through a case study

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

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