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CTE Policy Watch

Research on Effective Work-based Learning


March 15, 2013

By: Ann Ultsch, ACTE intern

In a recent article in CenterPoint, the National Research Center for CTE reviewed a new publication that examines work-based learning (WBL) as an important component of secondary CTE programs.

FHI 360 recently conducted a study looking into how WBL fits into U.S. education. They identified the strengths and weaknesses of WBL programs and practices, such as internships/co-operative education (co-op), youth apprenticeships and school-based enterprises, and made recommendations to state leaders, including:

  • Provide a clear reason for and emphasize the value of WBL, especially the learning component of real-life experience
  • Offer resources and information about components of high-quality WBL programs
  • Provide professional development for teachers and WBL coordinators to develop instructional strategies, including for cognitive transfer of problem-solving skills
  • Convene meetings with employer associations and labor unions to achieve buy-in for the creation of more meaningful WBL programs connected to school curriculum
  • Require the broadening of selection criteria and provisions for access so more students can participate in WBL
  • Demonstrate strategies for involving academic and CTE teachers in the WBL process so that WBL is connected to classroom learning
  • Provide better guidelines for accountability for student learning in WBL programs
  • Fund WBL coordinators for each project with adequate support and resources

You can read more on the report and recommendations to improve WBL programs across the nation here.

Ann Ultsch is an intern with the ACTE Public Policy Department and a student at Wittenberg University in Ohio studying political science and English.

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