01.11.2021 Mapping Work-based Learning in Peace and Security Studies

Publication of the first report from the Erasmus+ project “Integration of Work-Based Learning in Conflict, Peace and Security Studies (INCOPS)”

Foto: INCOPS

In recent years, the incorporation of practical experiences into university curricula increasingly became a standard across various disciplines and study programmes. Likewise, in the field of Peace, Conflict and Security Studies both scholars and employers have stressed the necessity for a closer integration of academic skills with practical experience in the field.

The project “Integration of Work-Based Learning in Conflict, Peace and Security Studies (INCOPS)” (coordinated by the Center for Conflict Studies) primarily aims to improve our knowledge of the various types of work-based learning (WBL) practices in the field and strengthen the structural integration of practical skill development in MA level curricula of higher education institutions in Europe. Eventually, the project partner universities will test the existing practices in the field and design concrete suggestions on how this integration can be achieved.

Foto: INCOPS
Runge, L., and S. Vértes (2021) Mapping Work-based Learning
in Peace and Security Studies
. INCOPS Report #1.
https://doi.org/10.17192/es2021.0027

Lena Runge (Marburg) and Sára Vértes (Utrecht) prepared the first report INCOPS. It lays grounds for the project by analysing potential benefits of WBL for the field, by providing a conceptual base and by investigating forms of WBL within Europe that have been used in Peace, Conflict and Security Studies. The analysis mainly focused on the diversity of WBL activities, the operationalisation and integration of WBL experience into the curriculum, the various contextual factors influencing the explicit WBL design, as well as the (institutional) assistance of WBL modules. The benefit of the integration of WBL activities also in the assessment of the student’s learning experiences and their skill development is another aspect of interest.

Consequently, a major finding is the preliminary working definition of WBL for the project that this report further elaborates in detail: WBL is defined as an approach in higher education, which aims to merge theory and practice. It entails students working in or with organisations in the field, gaining practical experience, while utilising and reflecting on their academic skills. Furthermore, it yields an increase in educational resources, new impressions, networks, innovative ideas and critical reflection on the applicability of learnt theoretical knowledge. In addition, WBL brings together different stakeholders such as teachers, students and professional organisations in diverse ways and at different stages of the practical experience.

Integration of Work-based Learning
in Conflict, Peace and Security Studies (INCOPS)
Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships
2020-1-DE01-KA203-005661

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