Investigating what constitutes an effective workplace learning environment: A scoping review of the role physical and material elements play in student learning

Franziska Trede, Celina McEwen, Dale Sheehan

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    Abstract

    The purpose of this article is to report on a scoping review of the literature on workplace learning in order to understand what is known about the impact the physical material dimensions of workplace learning environments have on enhancing students’ learning. The experience of workplace learning in authentic workplace settings is perceived as in- valuable for undergraduates as a preparation for professional practice. With growing participation rates, there is an increased demand for universities to offer work place-ments. Although universities have no direct control over workplace environments, they can be astute in selecting workplaces that offer effective workplace learning environ-ments for students. In order to undertake this selection it is important to understand what key features of workplace learning environments enable students to learn effec-tively. Using Arksey and O’Malley’s five step scoping review strategy, the researchers found that the physical material dimensions of the workplace learning environment and their influences on student learning have to date been neglected. The researchers also found that conceptualisations of workplace learning environments were often limited to a common sense understanding of the term environment. What constituted an effective workplace learning environment was mostly defined in relational terms through the quality of interaction between student and supervisor neglecting the physical material potential of workplace learning environments for learning. The researchers draw some implications for university capacity to select appropriate sites for student placements and make some recommendations for further research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)94-105
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Cooperative Education and Internships
    Volume47
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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