Rowe, A. D., Nay, C., Lloyd, K., Myton, N., & Kraushaar, N. (2018). Telling your story of work-integrated learning: A holistic approach to program evaluation. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 19(3), 273-285.
Universities are increasingly investing in work-integrated learning (WIL) as a mechanism by which to enhance graduate employability. However, with such investment comes more pressure to demonstrate impact. Program evaluation can be undertaken for a diverse range of purposes including quality assurance, program improvement and accountability. Many evaluations in WIL have focused on measuring the impact of discrete models or cohorts on student outcomes, with less attention to partner and community impact. The complex nature of WIL, such as the involvement of multiple stakeholders, diverse models and delivery modes, means that a holistic approach may be more appropriate, measuring outcomes for multiple stakeholders, as well as program processes. This paper will discuss some of the opportunities, challenges and tensions associated with program evaluation in WIL, drawing on a case study of one Australian university, which implemented the evaluation of a university-wide WIL initiative. Implications for practice and research are discussed.