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For qualified healthcare professionals

Work-based Learning

Overview of work-based learning at the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care

Work-based learning is a process through which academic credit can be gained for learning undertaken in the workplace. It is being utilised increasingly in the health services to allow qualified staff to progress academically either at BSc or MSc levels while learning in their field of practice.

In the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Palliative Care we offer Work-Based Learning modules with 15 and 30 credits attached at both level 6 (BSc) and level 7 (MSc). The modules can form part of the MSc Advanced Clinical Healthcare or the BSc Clinical Practice or be taken as free standing modules. Up to two Work-Based Learning modules can be taken at each level.

The modules offer an opportunity to acquire academic credit for learning gained from specific educational activities undertaken in your workplace. For most students this will be linked to a course or study days provided by your employers but for others it may be an individual project or practice development negotiated with managers and colleagues. 

What is work-based learning?

Work based learning recognises students as independent learners able to learn from their experiences at work. The opportunity to develop and improve the ability to think critically and analytically, access information effectively and communicate your learning to others are central to the experience of being a university student. Educational opportunities arising in the work place have immediate clinical relevance to practice, employers and the professional development of individual practitioners. The Work-Based Learning modules provided by the Faculty aim to marry the benefits of both modes of education delivery. The ethos of the work-based learning provided by the Faculty can be summarised by this definition from Gibbs & Garnett (2007, p411).

‘A learning process which focuses university level critical thinking upon work…., in order to facilitate the recognition, acquisition and application of individual and collective knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve specific outcomes of significance to the learner, their work and the university’. 

Gibbs P. & Garnett J. (2007) Work‐based learning as a field of study, Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 12:3, 409-421, DOI: 10.1080/13596740701559886

Assessment and support

The modules enable you to develop as a lifelong learner by critically reflecting on and improving your learning skills and abilities. You will produce a portfolio of learning activities demonstrating your learning from the work based activity and your own development as an independent learner. The portfolio can contribute to evidence of professional development.

The academic support provided for this module is negotiated with the organisation providing the work based learning opportunities or with individual students undertaking their own projects in practice. Students will have an introduction to the module and the opportunity for follow up tutorials delivered by a member of the Faculty teaching staff either in a group or individually. Students will have access to on-line learning resources through KEATS. All students will have a named person in their organisation who is responsible for approving the work based learning activity and their learning plan.

Who are the Work-Based Learning modules for?
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Allied Health Professionals
  • Clinical educators or senior staff providing or planning to provide workplace learning
Find out more

For more information or to arrange an informal discussion about the Work-Based Learning modules please email: 

Academic lead – Annie Holme

Deputy- Brendan Garry    


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