Title: Assessing and accrediting work-based learning in Continuing Engineering Education

Authors: Geoff Chivers, Ken Nixon

Addresses: Professor of Continuing Education, in the Division of Adult Continuing Education, University of Sheffield, 196-198 West Street, Sheffield S1 4ET, England, UK. ' Lecturer in Continuing Vocational Education, in the Division of Adult Continuing Education, University of Sheffield, 196-198 West Street, Sheffield S1 4ET, England, UK

Abstract: There are major initiatives under way in Britain to assess and accredit learning gained in the workplace, and to place increased emphasis on training aimed at improving workplace capabilities. The involvement of higher education institutions in these initiatives is considered important, but presents many issues requiring resolution. Issues in regard to the assessment and accreditation by higher education institutes of the work-based learning of experienced technician engineers have been investigated as part of a project carried out by a team from Sheffield and Nottingham Universities. The paper reviews this investigation and the general conclusions arising from it. While many findings are in line with those from project investigations carried out on other professional groups (trainers and managers), engineering raises some special concerns which are addressed. Assessment and accreditation of work-based learning of technician engineers requires considerable involvement and effort by workplace supervisors and university-based engineers operating on a team basis, as well as work by the technicians to identify, and generate evidence for, their work-based learning. A major finding is that very experienced and highly specialised mid-career non-graduate technician engineers may more appropriately undertake study for a university qualification taught at postgraduate level rather than at undergraduate level.

Keywords: work-based learning; WBL assessment; WBL accreditation; technician engineers; higher education; vocational competences; NVQs; continuing engineering education; continuing education; workplace learning; UK; United Kingdom.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCEELL.1995.030246

International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 1995 Vol.5 No.1/2, pp.1 - 18

Published online: 12 Dec 2009 *

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