Work-Based Learning

Work-based learning is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop their employability. 


Work-based learning is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop their employability.  Most WBL programs are generally university accredited courses, aiming at a win-win situation where the learner’s needs and the industry requirement for skilled and talented employees both are met. WBL programs are targeted to bridge the gap between the learning and the doing.  Work-based learning encompasses a diversity of formal and informal arrangements including apprenticeships, work placement and informal learning on the job.


  • Work-based learning strategies include the following:
    • Apprenticeship or internship or mentorship: An apprenticeship involves the student working for an employer where he or she is taught and supervised by an experienced employee of the chosen organization. The student is periodically evaluated for progress as per the skills and knowledge acquired, and maybe granted wages accordingly. At the end of the course, the student receives a certificate of service. The student learns in a realistic environment and gets the opportunity to apply his or her knowledge in real world scenarios.
    • Job shadowing: Job Shadowing is a short term opportunity that introduces the student to a particular job or career by pairing the student with an employee of the workplace. By following or ‘shadowing’ the employee, the student gets familiar with the duties and responsibilities associates with that job.
    • Business/industry field trip: Field trips offer the students an insight in the latest technical advancements and business strategies of an enterprise. Students also gain awareness of the various career opportunities available and understand the driving forces of the community’s economy.
    • Entrepreneurial experience: This includes setting up of specific business, right from the planning, organizing and managing stage to the risk control and management aspects of a business.
    • Cooperative education: In cooperative education, the work experience is planned in conjunction with the technical classroom instruction. This method is used by universities that do not have access to state-of-art equipment required to transact the technical course practically.
    • School-based enterprise: A school-based enterprise is a simulated or actual business run by the school. It offers students a learning experience by letting them manage the various aspects of a business
    • Service learning:This strategy combines community service with career, where students provide volunteer service to public and non-profit agencies, civic and government offices etc.
  • Key people include the following:
    • Student: The student is central to the WBL process. The student engages in a WBL program and completes all requirements of the program, maintains high degree of professionalism and acquires necessary competencies for which the WBL program was designed.
    • Business Mentor: A business mentor sets realistic goals for the student to acquire, engages and supervises them to complete their tasks and is a role model for the student to emulate.
    • Teacher Coordinator: A teacher coordinator is a certified educator who manages the WBL program and checks on the student progress and supports whenever required to ensure successful completion of the WBL program
    • School Administrator: The school administrator is key in introducing WBL programs within the curriculum after identifying the appropriate courses that can be learnt through the program.
    • Parents: Parental support enables successful completion of the WBL program as offer suitable guidance, support and motivation to their wards and approve the WBL program that would be most suitable for meeting their ward’s learning needs and career aspirations.



  • (Added 9/18/23) Linsey Osos, CTE Program Manager,CHE):It appears there was an error in a few of our documents (Course Titles and Descriptions and Review Document) where some text was cut off in the current versions. They have been corrected and updated versions will be posted to our website later this month. Please note the following from 5974 Work Based Learning Capstone:
    • “A minimum of 85 hours of workplace and classroom activities are required for one credit; 170 hours are required for the two credits. Of the 85 or 170 hours, 18 to 36 hours (at least 1 hour a week or the equivalent over a semester or year) must be spent in related classroom instruction. ”
    • For example, for a course that is being offered for 3 credits, there would be a minimum of 255 hours of workplace and classroom activities. Of those, 54 hours, at least one hour a week (or equivalent over a semester or year), must be spent in related classroom instruction.
    • If there are additional questions regarding the WBL course or other topics related to CTE, please reach out to our team at
  • (CounselorTalk, March 2023):TEEN WORKS: SUMMER PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES: provides work-based learning opportunities to Indiana teens in Indianapolis, Muncie, Anderson, and Fort Wayne. Interested teens can apply for a six-week entry program here. To gain employment with the TeenWorks Pro Program (year-round job placements) may apply here. Contact with any questions.
  • Q: Does anyone have a good rubric to give supervisors to evaluate students in the workplace?
  • Work-based learning can help students improve academically. It helps them learn how the things they learn in the classroom are connected to the real world. It’s also a great way to explore career options.


If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email and let us know.