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Learning in Workplace Contexts - Students' Guide to the Online Practicum Preparation Programme


Excited? Scared? Both? Are you ready to go out on work placement?

This Programme aims to help you go out on placement well prepared to enjoy the experience and gain the maximum learning benefit from it. It consists of discussions, activities and resources to engage you in active learning about what you need to know to ‘survive’ and thrive in your placement.

Why do you need this Programme?

Quality pre-practicum preparation/learning provides the foundation for positive practicum learning experiences, and the exchange of learning between the classroom and the workplace. You will need to be prepared in work-based skills and awareness, specific workplace skills, legal and statutory responsibilities, personal wellbeing and safety, safe workplace practices and work literacy. You will also need orientation to the profession or industry in relation to profession and industry structure, professional liability, ethics and supervision.

Prior to placement, you will need to be able to: observe and take notice of significant features of the workplace context; learn to learn from your experiences; learn critical reasoning and problem solving skills; gain the ability to learn from your peers; and be prepared in cultural awareness and sensitivity. All of these attributes are essential in the workplace-learning environment. This 5-module Programme aims to prepare you in all of these ways.

The learning modules

The five learning modules are:

  1. Getting to know more about organisations.
  2. Preparing to go (on the placement).
  3. Negotiating workplace cultures.
  4. Learning in workplace contexts.
  5. Surviving the placement.

Each has a ‘Teacher’s Voice’ front page with links to informative discussions, reflective activities and resources. As you go through the modules, make sure you participate in the activities. Your teacher coordinating work placement will have advised you if some of these activities will be used for assessment purposes and some for discussion. All activities can be used for personal reflection. Some of the activities are profession/industry specific while others are generic. They have all been designed to enable adaptability to suit your specific topic and profession/organisation/enterprise/industry.

Have a look at the main resources, as many provide information needed to complete the activities. Others are for diversity of interest.

You will need an assessment/resource portfolio to place your notes for these pages and the completed activities in (hard copies) to take with you on placement as a ready reference. You will find this especially useful in relation to a series of ‘checklists’, rights and responsibilities, and workplace scenarios/dilemmas.

Learning outcomes

After completing these modules, you will be able to achieve the following learning outcomes:

M1. Getting to know more about organisations - Understanding the host organisation and its contexts

  • Refine choice of placement based on personal interests and knowledge of organisation.
  • Profile the host organisation’s structure and functioning.
  • Identify the host organisation’s global context.
  • Generate questions to be investigated on the placement.
  • Generate a resource of useful information and support for engaging with the host organisation.

M2. Preparing to go - Organising yourself and getting ready

Identify all practical matters that must be attended to prior to placement, including:

  • Domestic, work and travel arrangements.
  • Pre-requisites such as first aid certificates, police checks, immunisations, accommodation and services available.
  • Research overseas placements.
  • Research Australian information (for foreign students doing placements in Australia).
  • Research web information related to practicum preparation.
  • Preparation of an up-to-date CV.

M3. Negotiating workplace cultures - Developing skills for effective workplace relationships

Review personal readiness for the placement in terms of culture and interpersonal skills in relation to:

  • Workplace cultures.
  • Workplace etiquette.
  • Cultural diversity in the workplace and how to work well with this.
  • Communication issues.
  • Diversity, discrimination and client rights – fair and equal treatment.

M4. Learning in workplace contexts – Preparing to learn in the practicum

Review personal readiness for the placement in terms of understanding:

  • The differences between classroom and workplace learning.
  • How to use learning from the classroom in the workplace, and vice versa.
  • Self as active learner: Motivation; Intentionality; Self-awareness; Adaptability.

M5. Surviving the work placement

Identify potential safety issues – physical and personal – and strategies for managing difficulties and ending the placement positively:

  • Profile the risk factors in the host organisation.
  • Identify the occupational health and safety guidelines for the host organisation, and the strategies and resources for maintaining them.
  • Identify potential legal and ethical matters of concern for the host organisation, and for its relationship with staff and clients.
  • Identify strategies for managing personal difficulties, including organisational problems, workplace conflict and stress.
  • Develop a strategy for ending the placement and the relationships with staff and clients.

Programme map

Click on this complete map of the modules to see an overview of the whole Programme. You might also like to look at all the activities before you start.

Now you are ready to get started. Enjoy using these practicum preparation learning modules and good luck on your placement!

All feedback on this Programme is welcome. Please state your program of study in the email.

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