Work Based Learner


As a Work Based Learning (WBL) provider it was an interesting question that the group raised. “How, When and Why did WBL come about”. As this is an important part of the Chamber business and more importantly something that affects me on a daily basis, it will be interesting to carryout a study into the origins of WBL.

‘Work based learning’ may be defined in many ways.   During the mid 80’s, Levy et al (1989) defined work based learning as ‘linking learning to the work role’ and identified three inter-related components each of which provided an essential contribution to learning.   These were;
  i) structured learning within the work place;
  ii)   providing appropriate on-job training/learning opportunities;
iii)   identifying and providing relevant off-job learning opportunities.

At the core of work based learning is the actual process of doing the work by undertaking a particular task or function.   Provided that the task can be evidenced and assessed it gives us the basis for many work based learning programmes.

Work based learning is much more than work experience or work placement.   ‘it is a gradual and unfolding process which takes into account prior learning and experiences during assessment and can act as a starting point for lifelong learning and continual professional development’,   Brennon & Little (1996)

The opportunity for learners to achieve qualifications for learning that has taken place outside of further education institutions has dramatically increased over recent years.   These opportunities now include sandwich courses, apprenticeships and work based learning programmes and it could be argued that the development within these courses relate to the organisation of knowledge in society, the changing nature of work and career and the learning society. In the 1960’s employers relied on the state to provide training within technical colleges.   Employers were responsible for the day release of their...