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Learner Engagement: A Guide to Negotiated Work-Based Learning

Date posted: 24/06/2011

SEDA Special 29
Mike Laycock

Recently, government directives have highlighted once again graduate employability as a key priority for business and emphasised the importance of opportunities for students to enhance their work-related skills. Work-based learning has been developing in UK higher education since the early 1990s. Many university programmes already use workplace problems as a learning resource, involving students in typical work-based practices such as action learning projects and individually negotiated learning agreements or contracts. Additionally, the blurring of the boundaries between learning gained in the HEIs and elsewhere has gained a foothold over the years in the practice of assessing prior experiential learning and in accrediting in-company training schemes.

This SEDA Special examines a range of issues surrounding work-based learning. In particular, it looks at contemporary notions such as ‘employer engagement’ and ‘employer responsive provision’ and re-evaluates them in the light of a pedagogically-based perspective which is driven by learner-managed learning, with the outcomes of that learning negotiated between the learner, the employer and the academy. The Special also re-examines the on-going debate about the nature and creation of ‘legitimate knowledge’ and provides an overview of some practical aspects of the delivery of negotiated work-based learning and its assessment.

The cost of this publication is £12 and can be ordered from