Theory in the Service of Practice: WIL and the curriculum

Sally Male, Lesley Jolly, Esther Matemba, Andrew Valentine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paperpeer-review


The decline in the availability of traditional work placements for engineering students in Australia has led to developments in non-placement work integrated learning (WIL) to supplement work placement. To appropriately incorporate WIL into the curriculum, employability skills to be achieved through WIL must be translated into intended unit learning outcomes, and outcomes need to be clearly defined. We argue that the problem is a cultural one of moving from university to the different world of work, a matter of dealing with cultural difference. Transcripts from three focus groups (held at three institutions) involving engineering students who participated in WIL activities were inductively analysed using the theories of Pierre Bourdieu. Students identified accountability as one of the key areas that was more important in real-world work situations than at university. Non-placement and virtual WIL modules should include learning activities and assessment that develop and assess accountability. The Bourdieu framework is likely to be valuable in further describing WIL learning outcomes in practical ways that can be used to inform curriculum development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication30th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference
PublisherThe University of Southern Queensland
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event30th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education - Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre , Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 8 Dec 201911 Dec 2019


Conference30th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Education
Abbreviated titleAAEE2019
Internet address


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