Through an integrated learning experience, we strive to help students make, understand, and articulate connections between learning, life-wide experiences, and work. We aim to improve employability outcomes by improving students’ ability to understand, demonstrate, take responsibility for, and articulate their learning, thus improving their written applications for employment, their verbal interviews, and their continuing professional development.
Providing an integrated student learning experience requires teaching staff participation, industry involvement, and student commitment. Working within a consistent framework is an important step in ensuring that everyone is on the same page. The employability skills framework used at Edith Cowan University through Course Learning Outcomes are those developed by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Core Skills for Work Framework (2013). The skills covered by this framework are:
Different courses may use different language to describe these skills in their Course Learning Outcomes and Unit Learning Outcomes. However, the aim is for all students to be able to demonstrate and articulate their achievements and abilities in these areas.
Even though you probably have encompassed these skills within your course, it does not guarantee that students are aware of this, or that they are aware of their ongoing development in these skills (Peet, 2015). We suggest that with your course team you identify where each of these skills are taught and assessed. In first year, you can provide students with an overview of which units will cover each these skills. Within specific units, inform students when they are practising these skills and give students an opportunity to collect evidence of each skill.
Within each of the units where students are working on employability skills, students need an opportunity to recognise how they have used the skill during the unit. By unpacking experiences of using the skill and by talking through the process, students can identify their development in the skill and be able to articulate their abilities to others (Peet, 2015). Integrative learning tasks can empower students to understand their knowledge and abilities and be able to put these into context for applying for work and confidence to successfully remain meaningfully employed.
Evidence can be stored using PebblePad. The Centre for Learning and Teaching has created a course-wide workbook for ECU students to monitor, describe and evidence their skill development. In their final year, students can use this evidence to create a showcase portfolio that can be shared with potential employers. To get your students access to this workbook, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Integrative learning requires students to be able to connect ideas, experience and knowledge from different units throughout their course to their life outside the university. The Association of American Colleges and Universities put together a rubric to cover this skill. Your course is invited to adapt this Integrative Learning Rubric to suit the needs of your students over the course of their time at university. This rubric can be used in conjunction with the gradCAP workbook and portfolio.
Please leave a comment about your rating so we can better understand how we might improve the page.