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The Development of Work Based Learning as part of Post-Qualifying
Education in the School of Nursing University of Salford

Denise Owens
June Rutherford

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Dearing (1997) discussed the need for Higher Education in collaboration with employers to recognise, assess and accredit learning from work thus extending opportunities to adults who would not necessarily have engaged with further study and so contributing to widening participation. Gray (2001) identified that work-based learning is a significant element in the UK government policy debates of professional development and lifelong learning.
     This paper will report on the development, introduction and evaluation of a work-based learning module at level two as a pilot project. It will then go on to describe the progress to date in the development of a work-based learning degree utilising the lessons learnt from the pilot. Flanagan, Baldwin and Clarke (2000) describe work-based learning as a mechanism for integrating university level learning with learning from experience in the workplace, the bringing together of self knowledge, expertise at work and formal knowledge. Raelin (2000) maintains that elements of work-based learning include reflections on work practices, reviewing and learning from experience, problem-solving within a working environment and the acquisition of meta-competence – learning to learn. So work-based learning is not a subject for study- it is a mechanism for learning.
     The pilot group of students had not engaged in formal continuing education for many years due to their lack of confidence in their ability to study within a university setting. Work-based learning was seen as a method of engaging these students in an educational process that was meaningful to them as practitioners in clinical practice and in turn enabling widening participation in academic study.


Dearing, R. (1997) Higher Education in the Learning Society. National Committee of Enquiry into Higher Education: Norwich

Gray, D. (2001) Assessment Series No 11 A Briefing on Work-Based Learning ILSN The Generic Centre Learning and Teaching Support Network: York.

Flanagan, J., Baldwin, S. and Clarke, D. (2000) Work Based Learning as a Means of Developing and Assessing Nursing Competence. Journal of Clinical Nursing, Vol 9 No 3 pp360-368.

Raelin, J. (2000) Work-Based Learning: The New Frontier of Management Development, Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Author Bio(s)

Denise Owens is a Lecturer in Child Health and Programme Leader, Post-Qualifying Studies, at the University of Salford School of Nursing.

June Rutherford is a Lecturer in Adult Nursing and Joint Programme Leader, Post-Qualifying Programme, University of Salford School of Nursing .