Assessing the impact of work integrated learning and its practices on the education of engineering technicians and technologists in relation to the Higher Education Qualification Sub-Framework (HEQSF) document in South Africa
Author(s)Samadi, Fereshteh Rouhani
KeywordsHigher Education Qualification Sub-framework
National Diploma curriculum
Work integrated learning
Engineering -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- South Africa -- Evaluation
Engineering technicians -- In-service training -- South Africa -- Evaluation
Engineering technologists -- In-service training -- South Africa -- Evaluation
Career education -- South Africa -- Evaluation
Technical education -- South Africa -- Evaluation
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AbstractWork integrated learning (WIL) for the training of engineering technicians and technologists combines the theoretical learning of the fundamentals with their practical application in a real-world situation and environment. The activities in WIL are intended to provide students with specific learning outcomes in each engineering field of study, as well as with the general skills that are necessary for engineers in any field. The WIL learning outcomes are very specific and provide the student with the opportunity to practise and apply the fundamentals in an actual workplace.
WIL includes various modalities such as problem-based learning, project-based learning and workplace learning. In this thesis, work integrated learning is referred to specifically as a period of work placement for engineering students. The other modalities of learning are usually included in all engineering qualifications.
Thirty percent of the curriculum for the National Diploma engineering qualification in South Africa consists of work integrated learning, which translates into approximately 120 credits. WIL provides a valuable context for learning. However, there has been debate about the offering, placement, quality and supervision of it. This thesis investigates the various factors that may affect the offering of this component of learning in addition to ascertaining the importance of WIL in the training of technicians and technologists. This research comprises a survey conducted among engineering students as well as interviews with lecturers and supervisors directly involved in the implementation of the WIL component. The study investigates the format of WIL and its duration, the presence or absence of supervisors, mentors, a syllabus and clear guidance within the context of the Higher Education Qualification Frameworks. Quantitative data was collected from Engineering National Diploma and B-Tech students in two universities in Gauteng and then captured and processed. Statistical analysis such as factor analysis, analysis of variance, Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient, Pearson chi-squared, the Bartlet test and others were carried out, using various standard tests. The study reveals the extent to which both students and lecturers appreciate WIL. The study also offers recommendations for the unique and on-going collaboration between industry and academic institutions for the purpose of the training of future technicians. In addition, it provides reasons for the possibility of a shorter work placement period provided certain preparations are made by the universities prior to placement. It highlights the need for clarity on the responsibilities of the role players involved and on assessment methods, and for the provision of a more specific, yet flexible, curriculum, while also recommending regular reflection on this component of learning. All of these points are discussed within the context of the Higher Education Qualification Framework in South Africa. This framework recommends that higher education institutions accept responsibility for WIL placement and for ensuring that programmes are properly structured and supervised.
Science and Technology Education
D. Phil. (Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (Technology Education))
Samadi, Fereshteh Rouhani (2013) Assessing the impact of work integrated learning and its practices on the education of engineering technicians and technologists in relation to the Higher Education Qualification Sub-Framework (HEQSF) document in South Africa, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <http://hdl.handle.net/10500/13328>
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