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Factors affecting student success in the workplace

Project leader(s): 
Hilary MacQueen

The Open University has limited experience of work-based learning (WBL) as it challenges fundamentally our standard delivery model. Responsibility for WBL students is shared between the OU and the Employer: each has specific responsibilities towards the student. SEAM survey data show that WBL students are generally happy with their AL support but many claim that they do not get adequate support from their Employer. Employers confirm that they fulfil all their obligations towards the students, and indeed there is a high rate of achievement for WBL students; nevertheless there is considerable diversity in the level of support given to students in the workplace and many students report high levels of anxiety, frustration and unhappiness during their studies.

The aim of this project is to identify factors in the workplace that impact on the student’s learning journey. We will ask graduates of the Foundation Degree in Paramedic Sciences to reflect on their experiences of WBL by means of a survey questionnaire designed to probe both quantitative (such as facilities and opportunities provided by the Employer) and qualitative (such as whether the student felt part of a learning community) factors.

The results of this survey will allow us to identify factors that students feel are important for their success in WBL. This can be used to inform plans for other WBL and Apprenticeship initiatives, to ensure that students can be well supported both by the OU and their Employer.

Releated resource

MacQueen, H. and Aiken, F.J. (2019) Supporting distance-taught students in the workplace, in Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, DOI 10.1108/HESWBL-04-2019-0048