Improving work integrated learning through implementing internship performance indicators

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Wilson-Mah, Rebecca
Thomlinson, Eugene
Education, Higher
In applied programs, there is a growing expectation for students to be workready at the end of their undergraduate and graduate studies. Work integrated learning is a strategy that enmeshes applied and practical experience with academic courses to offer integrated learning and a connection between post-secondary education and the workplace. Students in tourism and hospitality programs across British Columbia were surveyed along with their internship employers to better understand their perceptions of internship programs across the province. With 46 of 93 students and 14 of 55 employers responding, the research discovered that participants are generally satisfied, with the internship programs rated at 85% above average or excellent. The ability to use skills and knowledge from the classroom in the work environment is a particularly strong aspect of internship, bridging theory, applied learning, and practice. Some areas for improvement, though, include better communication between employers, students, and supervisors, as well as broader internship opportunities. The findings also supported previous research regarding the potential disconnects between student expectations of internships and student internship performance evaluations completed by employers. The research demonstrated that internship programs continue to be an important aspect of the undergraduate and graduate learning experience and should be supported.
Part I: Learner Experiences and Outcomes
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