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Stakeholder Perspectives on Work-based Learning: Exploring Needs and Experiences (O2)

Duration: 05/2021-04/2022
Work Package Leader: Kent
Team: Frank Grundig (Kent), Paula Duarte Lopes (Coimbra), Maria Raquel Freire (Coimbra), Daniela Nascimento (Coimbra)

The second Intellectual Output (O2) is dedicated to the stakeholders which are involved in Work-based Learning (WBL). The overall aim is to make their perspectives transparent and to develop an actor sensitive agenda, which takes the needs and interests into account. O2 consists of a comprehensive report on stakeholder perspectives on WBL within Peace, Conflict and Security Studies (PCS) including best practises in the two focus areas of the project, i.e. internship and voluntary work. It contains tailored guidelines, which address the different phases as well as the different interfaces between stakeholders. The output is directed to gain knowledge from the stakeholders via workshops with focus group discussions. Under the leadership of Kend, each partner of INCOPS is involved in this output as focus group discussions are conducted by each university.

O2 addresses the experiences with WBL of groups such as students, educators, study programme coordinators, internship coordinators of both universities and non-academic partners. The focus group discussions at the individual project sites focused on the following three dimensions of WBL: internships, voluntary work and inclusion. With questions around “internship” we aim to stimulate the exchange of how to better integrate and accompany internships in PCS curricula in order to make them a purposeful experience. Therefore emphasis will be put on effective practises for facilitating the integration of theory and practice in an internship or work-based activities. Topics are for example, the definition of learning outcomes, appropriate forms of assessments, the compilation of learning plans, but also means and needs for facilitating a learning environment for which different stakeholders.

The topic of voluntary work is important, as its role in WBL is underexplored and underestimated, although often a precondition for being accepted. As voluntary work is often conducted individually the role of self-directed learning becomes most important here. Therefore, likely topics of the workshops concern the “three dimensions of self-directed learning”, which are motivation, self-monitoring and self-control of students.

As for “inclusion”, which in this project is defined in a broad way, a major obstacle to placements and voluntary work is the issue of mobility. As students, in particular, who cannot gain extensive practical experience due to special needs, e.g. concerning child care, care of family members, disabilities or residence and visa problems, we did explore alternatives to internships and voluntary work which typically requires physical attendance at the workplace. The way of working in this phase of the project is that first of all a set of topics and questions for the focus group discussions was worked on.