Three work-based learning strategies that work

Work-based learning is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. as a primary means of education and job recruitment. Apprenticeships, internships, and work-based learning on college campuses are helping to cultivate skills among the younger workforce and prepare them for highly skilled, highly compensated work. Work-based learning strategies are also proven more effective for company-specific job training, as students enter paid positions with specialized competency and the confidence they need to succeed. 

Internships and apprenticeships are often used as work-based learning programs to help companies recruit and transition students into open positions. If your company or organization is preparing a work-based learning program, these three elements are key to student success: 

Gradual learning & repetition

Work-based learning puts positive pressure on students but should be designed with mistakes. Rather than teaching them as much as possible from the beginning, allow students to master meaningful tasks individually so they can feel confident in their learning curve and won’t put your operational objectives at risk. 

Classroom time translated to on-the-job training

Classroom time is still the primary form of learning in college and vocational school and can be easily implemented from day one on the job. When utilizing work-based learning, ensure that the lessons learned in class are discussed on the job. For example, safety procedures learned in the classroom should be demonstrated on the job site so students can see how their knowledge will impact their proficiency on the job.  

Rewarded skill development

Work-based training is inherently more rewarding for many students than classroom time because they can feel accomplished in the tasks they master and see clearly how far they have to go before they reach proficiency in their field. However, incentives should be incorporated into training to ensure students don’t become burnt out over the slower learning process. Rewarding good work with greater responsibilities or compensation can help students focus on the end goal and complete programs faster. 

Work-based learning (a key part of our Workforce Development and Job Corps programs) prepares the next generation for success in any given field and can facilitate more successful recruitment now and in the future.