Teaching Matters 2017 | Presentation Details | 28 NovemberNov 2017
A 360-degree approach to evaluating WIL: creating meaningful experiences for students, sponsoring organisations, industry mentors and educators
Gemma Lewis (Project Lead), Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Belinda Williams, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Steve Allen, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Beverly Goldfarb, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Kevin Lyall, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Making a Difference for Students
Social Sciences 213
In January 2016, we commenced a UTAS Teaching Development Grant (Category A) with the aim of developing a 360-degree survey tool that could be used across different disciplines to evaluate the perceptions of all parties involved in a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) initiative. Part of the impetus for this research was our own desire to create meaningful and relevant WIL experiences for our students (namely undergraduates studying business). Despite there being tools for evaluating student learning outcomes and student perceptions (Elijido-Ten & Kloot 2015; Orrell, 2011), we identified there was a clear need for a holistic evaluation instrument, which collected 360-degree feedback and facilitated continuous improvement. After hosting a WIL expert, and reviewing relevant literature, our team designed a short online survey; comprising questions related to communication, support and resources, time commitment, student engagement and behaviour, each party’s skills, and the extent to which the project enhanced a student’s employment prospects and their academic performance. The survey also asked for open-ended comments and suggestions to improve future WIL projects. The distinctive feature of our survey is in evaluation of the WIL initiative from the perspectives of all participants in a project (i.e. students, sponsoring organisations, industry mentors and educators/academics). Thus, some questions are generic to each participant group, and others were tailored to that group’s WIL experience.
After obtaining ethics approval, we piloted our survey in June 2016 with 49 respondents, who participated in the innovative BFA303 Auditing Social Enterprise project. Data from our pilot survey were analysed in relation to the design and implementation of the BFA303 WIL initiative. The results showed that overall, participants believed the initiative was valuable and should be further developed. Satisfaction of each participant group was very high, with 80% to 90% of respondents providing positive feedback on the project. The main areas for improvement were time and communication management, smaller student groups for better manageability, higher involvement of mentors in the project, and greater input of resources from both the university and sponsoring organisations. Respondents felt that the BFA303 WIL project had the potential to benefit all participants and should be expanded to other units and to an increased number of sponsoring organisations.
Since our pilot test, we have conducted follow-up interviews with 3 out of 9 respondents, and are currently obtaining feedback from UTAS academics, with the aim of formatively assessing the usefulness and functionality of our survey to different discipline and multidiscipline contexts. This process will enable us to refine our survey, and write its accompanying user-guide.
In our showcase presentation we will discuss the refined survey and user guide, alongside a newly developed interactive tool, which uses the survey data to depict a 360-degree representation of the project.
Elijido-Ten, E & Kloot, L 2015, ‘Experiential learning in accounting work-integrated learning: a three-way partnership’, Education+ Training, vol. 57, no. 2, pp. 204-218.
Orrell, J 2011, Good Practice Report: Work Integrated Learning, Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Surry Hills.