Realising the Vision: Implementing Learning in the Workplace and Community at Victoria University (VU)

Judie Kay, Leoni Russell, Rachel Standfield

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


This paper outlines the process of implementing Learning in the Workplace and Community (LiWC) -Victoria University's term for Work Integrated Learning - into all courses offered at VU in Melbourne, Australia.VU is a multi-sector university offering a wide variety of programs across higher, vocational and further education. It is one of the most culturally diverse universities in the country, within a region which experiences significant social and economic disadvantage in Melbourne. In 2007, VU embarked on a major repositioning which aimed to put students' needs at the centre of all its activity with a focus on student employability. This repositioning has culminated in a Statement of Purpose that reflects 5 key commitments for the university. One of these commitments is the integration of LiWC into all programs, to ensure that our students are job, career, and future ready. In a policy context which is focused on increasing educational opportunities and meeting industry and workforce needs, LiWC offers a way to ensure the relevance of our courses and student engagement with industry and community.While work integrated learning is widely practised in Australian universities, VU is committed to implementing LiWC across courses and making it explicitly linked to a minimum of 25% of the assessment in each course. Rather than being 'bolted on' to a course, the intention is for LiWC to be appropriately embedded within the structure of the course so that students may have the opportunity to learn in, and through, work in a variety of ways. This is prompting the need for a re-design of most courses and the provision of new types of assessment to capture learning in context. Thus, embedding LiWC at VU has proven to be not just a change to student centred teaching methods and curriculum design, but a significant organisational change project.This paper will detail thekey internal and external drivers behind the decision to embed LiWC into VU courses and outline the strategic development of this initiative. Issues discussed will include the implementation of LiWC in the light of: government education policies; the institutional and governance framework of the university; key pedagogical and curriculum strategies; and external and internal engagement systems and processes. Challenges encountered and successes to date will be outlined, including alignment of organisational culture with the strategic vision; resourcing the initiative; and curriculum design including, authentic learning and assessment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWACE Asia Pacific
Subtitle of host publicationInternational conference on Work Integrated Learning: University- Industry collaboration for real life education.
Place of PublicationHong Kong
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventWorld-Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) International Conference - Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 03 Feb 201005 Feb 2010


ConferenceWorld-Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) International Conference
Country/TerritoryHong Kong


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