Work Integrated learning (WIL) integrates academic learning of a discipline with its practical application in the workplace. It is also a research area that has been steadily growing internationally over the last several years.
WIL is University West’s overarching profile and has been a part of the university since it was founded in 1990. Ever since 2002, when the Swedish government gave us the distinguished task of developing WIL, it has permeated the way we work and study at University West.
At University West, we define WIL according to three dimensions:
WIL as a philosophy
At University West, we see both theoretical and practical knowledge as equally important and mutually dependent on each other. We believe that advanced knowledge is created in many parts of society, not least when people practice their professions every day.
When the practical knowledge is integrated with theoretical, new knowledge and new learning is created. As an institution of higher learning, we are constantly looking for new ways to integrate these two forms of knowledge.
WIL is also the university’s portal to cross-border collaboration and mutual knowledge exchange with the outside world, both in our research and in our education. Our collaboration uses WIL as a learning process where practical and academic knowledge is integrated and deepened through co-creation.
WIL as a pedagogical method
To be able to integrate practical and theoretical knowledge into our educations, working life is a natural part of our courses and programs. We want our students to gain a deeper understanding of their respective subjects and create their own insights and practical experience.
But at University West, students get something more than an education. Through WIL, students learn to estimate and reflect on their own learning. When students leave us, they are therefore well prepared for lifelong learning and lifelong development. These are important skills to bring to a working life and a world in constant change.
WIL as a research topic
Since 2020, WIL has been available as an interdisciplinary third-cycle subject area. It involves studies of the learning that takes place through the integration of theoretical and practical knowledge and experiences. These are taken from learning situations within academic studies as well as working life and civil society.