CEL facilitates multi-institutional research on engaged learning topics. Participants from institutions around the world collaborate over three years, producing scholarship that shapes research and practice globally.
CEL is home to two book series. In addition, CEL research seminars and other initiatives have produced 100+ publications (to date).
CEL’s concise guides offer research-informed practices for engaged learning.
CEL’s concise guides offer practical strategies for studying engaged learning.
CEL brings together international leaders in higher education to develop, synthesize, and share rigorous research on central questions about student learning.
The CEL Scholar role and CEL Student Scholars program enable Elon faculty and students to deepen their understanding of and professional development in scholarly activity on engaged learning.
Alanson, Erik R., Erin M. Alanson, Brittany Arthur, Aaron Burdette, Christopher Cooper, and Michael Sharp. 2020. "Re-envisioning Work-Integrated Learning During a Pandemic: Cincinnati’s Experiential Explorations Program." International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 21 (5): 505-519.
This study examines the array of WIL opportunities offered and how they were reimagined and adapted to fit the needs of the people involved during the COVID-19 global health crisis. The flexible and innovative measures taken by the University of Cincinnati to continue and improve upon their offerings show that, for UC, student well-being and the health and success of faculty-scholars, administrators, and students is of the utmost importance to them. While it is still too early to have conclusive evidence on the success of the newer programs, the fact that we can see how well-adapted these programs can be shows that Work-Integrated Learning can survive and thrive in the most turbulent times.
Batholmeus, Petrina, and Carver Pop. 2019. "Enablers of Work-Integrated Learning in Technical Vocational Education and Training Teacher Education." International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 20 (2): 147-159.
This qualitative study defines and examines enabling factors in industry-based work-integrated learning (WIL) integration into technical-vocational education and training (TVET) teacher education in South African universities. The initiative is specifically designed for TVET lecturers because the WIL that schoolteachers would typically undertake in school placements is not relevant to preparing technical-vocational students for an industry workplace.
Brown, Natalie. 2010. "WIL [ling] to Share: An Institutional Conversation to Guide Policy and Practice in Work-Integrated Learning." Higher Education Research & Development 29 (5): 507-518. https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2010.502219.
Through the implementation of a roundtable discussion of staff from various disciplines, Natalie Brown aimed to provide a space for University of Tasmania (UTAS) staff to recognize the potential and challenges of the practice of WIL. Understood as a way to provide students with an experience that integrates industry learning and academic coursework, WIL has been seen as beneficial to both students and industry members. While students can experience learning in context and enhance their employability, industry can participate in preparing graduates for a career. Yet, the absence of a general structure and collaboration in curriculum development allows gaps to remain within WIL opportunities.
Cantor, Jeffrey A. 1995. "Apprenticeships Link Community‐Technical Colleges and Business and Industry for Workforce Training." Community College Journal of Research and Practice 19 (1): 47-71. https://doi.org/10.1080/1066892950190105.
This article focuses on how apprenticeships build relationships between community/technical colleges and the workforce. Cantor completed a research study that examines how effective cooperative apprenticeships are and how they have successful outcomes for linking employers and the community college system. This study was a 2-year case study in which Cantor studied multiple apprenticeship programs that produced interesting findings about collaboration and why employers and community colleges work with each other. According to Cantor, collaborations occur mostly when partnerships derive mutual exchanges, partnerships access monies and resources, partnerships can mediate conflicts, and contractual relationships exist (p. 53). Cantor notes that the intentionality of apprenticeships is really valuable and doesn’t just benefit the student but also the stakeholders involved with the apprenticeship. Cantor closes the article with suggestions and recommendations for developing and expanding successful apprenticeship programs.
Christman, Scott. 2012. "Preparing for Success Through Apprenticeship." Technology and Engineering Teacher 72 (1): 22-28.
This source provides a historical perspective of apprenticeships and then uses the Newport News Shipbuilding Company’s apprentice school as a case study, to look at the modern apprenticeship model and how students can benefit from these styles of programs. Christman wrote the article through the lens of a labor shortage in technical jobs within the engineering industry. The article provides an understanding of the apprenticeship system in the 21st century and recommends rethinking the current educational model to provide a complementary blend of college academic courses and career training with relevant work experiences.
Cooper, Lesley, Janice Orrell, and Margaret Bowden. 2010. Work Integrated Learning: A Guide to Effective Practice. Routledge.
Chapter 2 of Cooper, Orell, and Bowden’s book provides a definition of WIL, specifically defining some of the specific experiences of WIL. These terms include WIL experiences such as internships, practicums, and fieldwork. This definition is important given the fact that certain WIL experiences often overlap in terminology and can be confusing to differentiate at times. Additionally, the authors focus on specifically defining professional learning, service-learning, and cooperative learning as the three different models of WIL. Lastly, the authors describe the benefits and outcomes of WIL experiences for students. The most critical benefit of a WIL experience is that it allows students to put theory learned in the classroom setting into practice in the workplace. Upon reflection after completing a WIL experience, the integration of theory to practice is deepened and allows for tremendous professional growth within a student.
Dean, Bonnie A, Michelle J. Eady, and Hannah Milliken. 2021. "The Value of Embedding Work-Integrated Learning and Other Transitionary Supports into the First Year Curriculum: Perspectives of First Year Subject Coordinators." Journal of Teaching and Learning for Graduate Employability 12 (2): 51-64.
The authors sought to determine how WIL can be integrated into students’ experiences of transitioning to college during their first year. Ten Subject Coordinators were interviewed, and each participant was asked to explain how their subject supported first-year students’ transition into college and then asked about WIL. They found that most important experiences fall into either an academic or social category. Results show that the academic experience supports the first transition, social experiences support the second, and WIL can and should be implemented in the third transition, a student’s transition into becoming a professional.
Hughes, Karen, Aliisa Mylonas, and Pierre Benckendorff. 2013. "Students’ Reflections on Industry Placement: Comparing Four Undergraduate Work-Integrated Learning Streams." Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 14 (4): 265-279.
Through the review of student reflections after the completion of their WIL program, Hughes et al. conclude that these opportunities for application-based professional development provide graduates with “a range of transferable skills and informed industry perspectives” (277). Students emphasized in their reflections the ability to put their coursework and subject knowledge into practice, recognizing the skills they held and potential areas of improvement. The immersion allowed students to recognize what industry professionals expected of their employees and understand what is needed to be successful in their discipline. Further, WIL students reflected upon their career choice as a whole, utilizing program experience to confirm the professional path they had selected and to recognize the culture surrounding the industry.
Jackson, Denise, and Nicholas Wilton. 2016. "Developing Career Management Competencies Among Undergraduates and the Role of Work-Integrated Learning." Teaching in Higher Education 21 (3): 266-286.
Denise Jackson and Nicholas Wilton’s research determines and evaluates the impact of WIL on the development of undergraduate students’ career management competencies. As a result of their research, the authors claim that work placements and other variations of WIL positively impact the development of opportunity awareness, decision-making learning, and transition learning. The research in this study was conducted by gathering data through self-assessment with an online survey.
Jackson, Denise. 2016. "Developing Pre-Professional Identity in Undergraduates Through Work-Integrated Learning." Higher Education 74 (5): 833-853. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-016-0080-2.
Jackson examines how work-integrated learning (WIL) enhances pre-professional identity in undergraduate students. Jackson finds that work placements positively affected the evolution of pre-professional identities. Students reported that personal reflection of their experience and appraisal were the most critical aspects of their WIL experience that strongly affected their pre-professional identities. Based on the triggers that were identified to progress pre-professional identities, Jackson also offers a variety of ways that practitioners can additionally enhance pre-professional identities in students. The author highlights that WIL allows students to understand expectations, attitudes, and responsibilities that are associated with their aspired profession, and progresses students professionally while they are still in college so that they are better prepared for their careers upon graduation.
Jackson, Denise. 2015. "Employability Skill Development in Work-Integrated Learning: Barriers and Best Practice." Studies in Higher Education 40 (2): 350-367. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.842221.
Jackson defines WIL as “the practice of combining traditional academic study, or formal learning, with student exposure to the world-of-work in their chosen profession, has a core aim of better preparing undergraduates for entry into the workforce” (350). In this paper, Jackson explores the influence that the work placement design, content, and coordination had on the student’s development of employability skills. Facilitating WIL effectively, in a way that will benefit the future career of the student, requires careful planning to ensure that the student has the best possible experience while also learning from challenges. Jackson found that the students’ perceptions as to what was most important in their learning aligned with the principles for best practice for WIL design.
Kay, Judie, Sonia Ferns, Leoni Russell, Judith Smith, and Theresa Winchester-Seeto. 2019. "The Emerging Future: Innovative Models of Work-Integrated Learning." International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning 20 (4): 401-413.
WIL is becoming foundational to higher education experiences across various Australian universities. In order to develop a breadth of industry partners and implementation of this practice in various disciplines, Kay et al. examine how institutions are seeking to abide by shifting work cultures and making WIL programs more adaptable. By reviewing current literature and exploring emerging models alongside university WIL facilitators through semi-structured interviews, the researchers seek to understand new approaches to WIL. This reflection on WIL emphasizes the efforts of institutions to expand opportunities for engaged learning experiences for students.
O'Banion, Terry U. 2019. "A Brief History of Workforce Education in Community Colleges." Community College Journal of Research and Practice 43 (3): 216-223. https://doi.org/10.1080/10668926.2018.1547668.
O’Banion’s article provides the history of workforce education in community colleges. Additionally, he highlights the issues and four current developments of workforce education. Workforce education is very much embedded in community colleges, as many higher education leaders indicate that workforce education may be the primary purpose of a student even attending college, and especially in community college. O’Banion notes that vocational education became very prevalent in 2003, and has evolved through apprenticeship training, trade school, and career and technical education for the past one hundred years.
Papakonstantinou, Theo, and Gerry Rayner. 2015. "Student Perception of Their Workplace Preparedness: Making Work-Integrated Learning More Effective." Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education 16 (1): 23-24.
Wanting to learn more about how students in WIL placements felt about their employability and application of coursework once completing their program, Papkonstantinou and Rayner sought to gauge student perspectives through various surveys. Utilizing a Likert scale, a sample of Monash University students reflected upon their WIL experience and the obtained skills and value immediately after completing their placement through the survey, then completing a follow-up at least six months after.