Work-Based Learning in PHE institutions

The pedagogical strategy of using guest lectures at the DHBW in all study programmes can be classified as substituting for experiential learning and related to a vicarious apprenticeship model of learning of the dual system in PHE. In essence this method of teaching provides the students with an understanding of professional activity by providing a ‘real-life picture’ of theory and in classroom teaching.

 Using guest lecturers in the institution, three main goals for inviting them are important:

  • Ensure that students will get an understanding of real-world practical knowledge
  • Ensure that students will identify new practical facts related to their professional orientation, and
  • Enable faculty and study programme managers to get exposed to real-world practices and trends and to enable professors integrating new knowledge into their courses.

This kind of collaboration is keeping teaching staff and programme managers at the instit

utions up-to-date with the latest technologies and changes by using guest speakers also in professional development.

The guest speaker approach is contributing to a successful authentic learning approach in on-campus learning by enabling students to be introduced to best practices and lessons learned from experience.

The collaboration is also beneficial for the companies.

Companies also see Work-Based Learning ,as an opportunity to display good corporate social responsibility behaviour, as well as exposure for their company, input into teaching content and practices, access to good graduates and access to research opportunities with academics.

The programme manager for each course is responsible for communication with the guest lecturer/s to make arrangements to determine appropriate content for the lecture, plus other details such as scheduling of the lecture.  The lecturer is also expected to discuss graduate opportunities and potential research, as well as gaining opinions on course content, design and assessment tasks with the guest lecturer.

A relationship is built with the company through the dual partnership programme with the DHBW.

Planning for an effective guest speaker event requires consideration of several issues by the course lecturer / programme managers.

Some of these issues are: the procedure for guest speaker selection, the preparation of the guest speaker and the students for the guest speaker event, the relationship between the course objectives and the guest speakers’ experiences, the teaching strategy to be used by the guest speaker and the delivery mode of the guest speaker.

The guest speaker events have to be closely related to course objectives and be well planned and prepared. For example, the effectiveness of linking academic courses and curriculum with work-based /practical training performed by the guest speaker to allow students to have a more grounded understanding of what scientists do and have a better understanding of the real world applications of what they are learning.

Transferring guest lecturer knowledge is an alternative to the institutional lectures covering a syllabus. Guest lectures, if managed well, can teach topics not covered at all by the lecturers in the course. They will share knowledge about an interesting “practical” topic that falls outside the scope of the syllabus and the textbooks.

The guest lecturer’s course goals should provide a clear setting of the expectations for the students. Programme Managers can actively moderate the discussion about the guest lecturer presentation with the students after the speaker departs to ensure that the conversation stays on target and the speaker’s contributions are contextualized with learning objectives.

The program manager at the DHBW is responsible for 1) contracting the guest lecturer for the course; 2) undertaking final assessment to obtain feedback from students regarding learning outcomes from and satisfaction with guest lectures; and 3) undertaking research to obtain feedback from lecturers and companies on their involvement with the program.

In the assessment of guest lecturers students indicate that they experience the following benefits from the use of guest lecturers from public practice:

  • Exposure to practical examples and/or the experience of the auditor at the audit client, to which students would not otherwise have been exposed.
  • Provide an opportunity to engage with professionals from outside the university and potential future employers, and facilitated contact with the “real-world” and the working environment of which they would one day form part.
  • Increase understanding of the topic.
  • Improve attitude towards the accounting profession.

Guest lecturers are contracted at the DHBW for one course. In case of poor performances and regular negative assessment from students, the programme manager can investigate the course deliverables or decide to replace the lecturer. A process which is not possible with institutional staff and lecturers.

More often students express their desire to have more time to engage with the individual guest speakers and, in particular, to have time to ask more questions of the speakers as well as to engage in discussion about the rest of the course materials with the speakers.

Additional information:

“Recognising that theory is of value only if it can be applied, academics must envision the world beyond the classroom and prepare students to compete in a market-driven world”

(Sutliff, 2000, p.1).