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eWBL – find digital work-based learning solutions to become better educator and shape the future workforce

The importance of Work-based learning (WBL) in developing work-ready graduates has been documented by several EU-funded projects such as HAPHE (2016), WBLIC (2016) and WEXHE (2020). WBL is a powerful pedagogy to foster graduate work-readiness because it is embedded in authentic work environments. As work is increasingly delivered remotely, a new and digital form of WBL has emerged recently – this is what this project calls “eWBL”.

eWBL – WP summary website

WP1: Needs and challenges

WBL is well recognised for its capacity to foster work-readiness in students, particularly through the first-hand observation of workplace norms, routines and language, mentorship and relationship building and the development of transversal skills such as communication and collaboration. However, if WBL is to be delivered online, educators and organisations need to envisage ways to foster those same competencies through digital means. This is a crucial yet highly unexplored topic.

The aim of WP1 is to explore the challenges met and the alternatives found by WBL providers across Europe in their shift from WBL to eWBL. This will be achieved through interviews with stakeholders of WBL providers across Europe and different disciplines. The interviews will cover how WBL was provided before COVID-19, the challenges encountered in shifting to eWBL and the alternatives or solutions found in response.


WP2: Frameworks and models


There is currently very little understanding and guidance on how to conduct high-quality eWBL both from a pedagogical and technological perspective. eWBL require new methodologies (or adapting existing ones to the new contexts) to which neither companies, students or teachers are used to. What is clearly missing is a more robust eWBL pedagogy that is: (i) concerned with fostering transversal competencies (ii) multidisciplinary and considers different national contexts and (iii) goes beyond technology adaptation (virtualisation) and aligns technology and pedagogy. Therefore, WP2 aims to close this gap through new frameworks and models.

Based on the challenges and alternatives identified on WP1, WP2 will produce general frameworks and replicable models on how to provide high-quality eWBL that are useful to a wider audience. The frameworks will encompass different dimensions: a) the main programme features; b) the technology necessary; c) organizational and administrative aspects d) key success factors and e) recurrent challenges.


WP3: Toolkit and OERs

Upskilling WBL teachers and trainers requires translating the outputs from the previous WPs into a trainer’s Toolkit and OERs. These step-by-step guides shall greatly facilitate the task of producing high-quality eWBL interventions in higher education.

It is the aim of this project not only to inform but to train the target audience on the development of high-quality eWBL. Therefore, it is not sufficient to envisage frameworks and models. Trainers often need more concrete instructions, tools and examples to be able to actually design better learning interventions. As the Erasmus+ E-lead Speed project has shown, a toolkit is an invaluable tool to facilitate this process because it compiles, in one user-friendly material, vast amount of information educators and trainers will need to design their eWBL courses. The Toolkit will also be complemented by a series of OERs that introduce the different chapters of the Toolkit.


WP4: Capacity-building

Based on the previous project outputs, WP4 aims to train the project's target audience (HE lecturers, trainers and administrative staff) on how to provide high-quality eWBL. This shall be done in two steps: first, we will deliver a train-the-trainer workshop to prepare so-called master trainers - one from each partner country, 5 in total. Then each master trainer will deliver, in their own country, a capacity-building course.

The course aim is to, first, provide educators with the needed methodological knowledge and skills to design high-quality eWBL. Second, to put the strategies presented in the Toolkit into practice during the course and collect feedback on it.

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