A Quality Framework for Work-Integrated Learning

Dr. Norah McRae, PhD

Associate provost (co-operative and experiential education)
University of Waterloo

April 30, Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching 


Work-integrated learning (WIL), a form of experiential learning where the workplace or practice setting is a site for learning, is under increased pressure to grow. Some advocates are calling for all post-secondary students to have at least one WIL experience before they graduate. While this is a laudable goal given the many benefits of WIL, how can we ensure that this growth occurs without jeopardizing quality? This presentation introduces a quality framework for WIL that considers the perspectives of all five key stakeholders: students, employers/host organizations, educators, post-secondary institutions and governments (McRae, Pretti & Church, 2018).

McRae, N., Pretti, T.J., & Church, D. (2018). Work-Integrated Learning Quality Framework, AAA*. Retrieved December 11, 2018, from https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-advancement-co-operative-education/research-publications/wil-quality-framework.  



Norah's involvement in co-operative and work-integrated education spans more than twenty years. She has led strategic program development and research on student engagement, community-engaged learning and intercultural competency development. 

In 2016, she was awarded the Albert S. Barber award from the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) for outstanding contributions to the field of co-operative education in Canada and was co-recipient for the BCCIE Award for Outstanding Program in International Education. In 2013/14 she was awarded the CAFCE Service Award for meritorious service to the association. In 2012 she received the CAFCE Graham Branton award for research excellence. 

Norah has served as President of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education and is an executive member of the World Association for Co-operative and Work-integrated Education Board of Directors.