The ‘ebb and flow’ of student learning on placement

Dawn Morley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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There is a rise in interest in work based learning as part of student choice at subject level in the UK (DOE 2017) but there remains an absence of specific guidance on how to best support higher education students learning on placement. An alternative HE experience in England, the degree apprenticeship, underlies the continued focus by policy in securing placement experiences for students without stipulating the type of support that is required at the ‘coal face’ of work based learning. Policy documents (UUK 2016), that urge universities to enter into partnership agreements with both employers and FE colleges to plug skills shortages, are noticeably lacking in their appreciation of the unique qualities of work based learning and how best to support students in this setting (Morley 2017a). Unfortunately, this is not unusual as placements have predominantly been an enriching ‘add on’ to the real business of academic learning in more traditional university programmes. Support initiatives, such as that described in chapter 10, are a rare appreciation of the importance of this role.
Undergraduate nursing programmes currently support a 50:50 split between practice learning in clinical placements and the theory delivered at universities. Vocational degrees, such as this, provide an interesting case study as to how students can be supported in the practice environment by an appreciation of how students really learn on placement and how hidden resources can be utilised more explicitly for practice learning. During 2013 – 2015 a professional doctorate research study (Morley 2015) conducted a grounded theory study of 21 first year student nurses on their first placement to discover how they learnt ‘at work’ and the strategies they enlisted to be successful work based learners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnhancing employability in higher education through work based learning
EditorsDawn Morley
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-75166-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-75165-8
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018


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