Work based projects: creating meaningful learning experiences for workplace impact
Higher education institutions have developed postgraduate work based curricula to incorporate employer perspectives regarding the learning and development needs of the professional workforce. Within these work based curricula there is an assumption that work based projects have some sort of utility and impact for the work place alongside the student’s own professional development. To develop the pedagogical practices of our work based project offering, we undertook a small scale explorative qualitative study to investigate the utility of these projects by interviewing practitioner students’ up to two years post graduation about the impact of their project. The findings from the thematic analysis of the narrative interview data identified that project impact was related to four themes: development of project skills, professional progression and reputation, alignment with workplace priorities, and engagement with colleagues and stakeholders. The discussion presents how we have used our understandings of the themes to inform our work based pedagogy in respect of practitioner students’ post graduate projects. The impact of work based projects from the perspectives of the employer and organisation needs further investigation.