Work-integrated learning and professional accreditation policies: An environmental health higher education perspective
The introduction of a new work-integrated learning (WIL) policy for university environmental health education programs seeking professional accreditation identified a number of problems. This included how to evaluate the acceptability of differing approaches to WIL for course accreditation purposes and a need to develop an agreed understanding of what constitutes WIL in environmental health. This paper describes a Participatory Action Research (PAR) approach undertaken as an initial step towards addressing these problems. The key recommendation from this research is the need to develop a framework to evaluate approaches to WIL in environmental health. In such a framework, it is argued that a shift in focus from a specified period of time students are engaged in WIL, to greater consideration of the essential pedagogical features of the WIL activity is required. Additionally, input from all stakeholder groups, universities, students, employers and the professional body, is required.