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Introduction and definition

In this section:


The University offers several different types of learning opportunities as integral parts of courses which can be deemed ‘placement learning’. In recognition of the value of such diversity and in order to share good practice that exists within departments, a survey of departmental literature and placement learning handbooks has been conducted which should serve to enhance the policies and practices of all departments. This Good Practice Guide is intended to identify general good practice in the operation of placement learning activities, highlight specific examples of particularly effective methods of managing placement learning and to set out the framework for Health and Safety Guidance to students, academic staff and placement providers. It also offers departments advice on meeting the key components of the Code of Practice on Placement Learning, developed by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and is intended to serve as a reference point for staff in departments responsible for placement learning. The Guide:

  • Defines placement learning opportunities and identifies types of placement learning offered by the University
  • Addresses the precepts of the QAA Code of Practice on Placement Learning
  • Identifies common issues, sources of advice and resources available to departments offering placement learning opportunities
  • Highlights examples of effective ways of organising different aspects of placement learning.

The Guide is not intended to be definitive or prescriptive, especially in light of the diversity of placement learning offered across the University, and the Teaching Quality team would be grateful for feedback from colleagues for future editions.

What Constitutes Placement Learning?

The QAA regards work-based and placement learning as follows:

‘Work-based learning is learning that is integral to a higher education programme and is usually achieved and demonstrated through engagement with a workplace environment, the assessment of reflective practice and the designation of appropriate learning outcomes.

Placement learning is the learning achieved during an agreed and negotiated period of learning that takes place outside the institution at which the full or part-time student is enrolled or engaged in learning. As with work-based learning, the learning outcomes are an intended as integral parts of a programme of study. It is important that each student is supported by the institution throughout his/her placement experience, to ensure that specific learning related to the programme can be achieved.’

Source: QAA Code of Practice Section 9: Placement Learning

(The Code of Practice precepts are not intended to cover learning outside an institution that is not a planned part of a programme of study, such as part-time, term-time and vacation work which students have arranged for themselves.) 

The QAA definition encompasses many types of placement learning offered by the University of Warwick, including:

  • Intercalated years for work or study (optional and mandatory)
  • Study abroad (departmental exchange or ERASMUS)
  • Work-based learning and professional experience (UK or abroad)
  • Industrial and clinical experience placements (UK or abroad)
  • Experiential learning