- That the programme must bring about an understanding within students about the specifics of the occupation for which they are being trained.
- That the students should master the techniques and skills required for a specific profession or occupation.
- And where feasible that work-based learning and placement in a work-based environment should form an integral part of the curriculum.
The CHE imperatives with regard to work-integrated learning further include (1) a mentoring system that enables the student to recognise her/his strengths and weaknesses in his/her work, to develop existing and new abilities, and to gain knowledge of work practices; as well as (2) regular and systematic monitoring. Mobile devices may well enable both these.
However, Coulby, Laxton, Boomer and Davies (2011) caution that without a sound pedagogical rationale for the use of mobile devices; technical and infrastructural realities may very possibly reduce student engagement.
Higher educational health and social care curricula often comprise a blend of classroom instruction (in residential education); simulations and work-based placement/s. The latter provide for learning opportunities and the assessment of competencies and professional attributes that cannot be cannot be replicated in the former two. The authentic nature of work-based placement/s enables holistic preparation; preparing graduates for professional practice, including the culture and practices of the particular community of practice. Primary care community clinics are utilised for placements in teaching. (Coulby, et al citing Billet, 2001; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Vygotsky, 1978).
Although work-based placements are regarded essential; Coulby, et al realise that these learning and teaching environments are challenged by practical and sometimes complex issues such as:
- Unreliable or restricted access to PCs and IT infrastructure; resulting in a lack of access to contemporary information; learning materials and social networks.
- Students experiencing uncertainty due to inadequate feedback on their performance resulting in unpreparedness; as well as insufficient monitoring, mentoring and tutoring (pastoral care) due to inadequate resources.
A potential solution explored is the ‘Assessment and Learning in Practical Settings’ (ALPS) programme, which employed mobile technologies. Common competencies, representing ‘readiness’ for professional practice were identified and developed into mobile assessment tools—which enable and encourage students to seek a spectrum of assessment opportunities such as from peers in the health and social care professions; from service users (patients); and self-reflection. The ‘ALPS’ assessments are completed are automatically captured online in e-portfolios; which in turn enable tutor and student review and commentary—in this way future practice of students are shaped and high-level scaffolding feasible. The University of Leeds, for example, has several hundred students in six different discipline/qualification cohorts.Coulby, C; Laxton, J; Boomer, S & Davies, N. 2011. Mobile technology and assessment: A case study from the ALPS (Assessment and Learning in Practical Settings) programme, pp. 51-70. In N Pachler, C Pimmer & J Seipold (Eds). 2011. Work-based Mobile Learning — concepts and cases. Oxford: Peter Lang.