At a Glance

The fifth section of the Work-Based Courses toolkit offers guidance on how to ensure the work-based curriculum is consistent and supports student learning.

Published jul. 30, 2000

Delivering the Work-Based Course

Colleges and employers are equal partners in delivering work-based courses, extending the collaboration that began in the course design process. Communication between employers and colleges is key to making sure that lessons in the classroom and at work are consistent and support student learning. College faculty members can use information from employer supervisors about student workplace performance to adapt and improve classroom instruction or provide additional coaching to the supervisor that will enhance the student’s experience.

Employers, faculty, and work-based course students each have a critical role to play to integrate instruction in the classroom and on the job. Employer supervisors must be aware of what’s happening in the classroom and able to create as many teachable moments for students as possible. Likewise, it is vital that faculty members keep up to date with industry practices to ensure the relevance of their classroom and lab lessons. When instructors know company practices, they can incorporate real tasks in their instruction to best benefit the students.

Students also have a role to play in relaying information between the classroom and the job. Asking questions about how a technique they learned and practiced in a classroom or lab setting translates to the workplace, or what additional skills they might need to practice in order to be successful, will improve students’ learning and performance.

Collaboration between Faculty and Employer Mentors

Questions to Ask before Watching This Video

  • Ask your employer partners in what key ways their supervisors think learning in a classroom or lab setting and learning on the job differ.
  • How do you keep informed of industry practices?

Questions to Ask after Watching This Video

  • In what ways can employer supervisors and college faculty support one another throughout a work-based course?
  • In what ways does the collaboration between employer supervisors and faculty allow students to master job skills more quickly and deeply?
  • Provide one example of how you might adjust your classroom instruction based on what you hear from a supervisor.

Work-Based Courses in Action

Questions to Ask before Watching This Video

  • What programs do your employer partners currently offer to employees to help instill loyalty and build productivity and retention?
  • Do your employer partners currently offer on-the-job mentoring? If so, what is the primary purpose of the mentoring?
  • How well do you think students are prepared for workplace realities?

Questions to Ask after Watching This Video

  • Name at least one advantage that employer supervisors gain from mentoring students enrolled in work-based courses.
  • Do you think the work-based learning model provides sufficient opportunity to assess student performance? Why or why not?