[6] Developing work-based learning in History


Developing work-based learning in History

Author (s)

Catherine Fletcher Associate Professor in History and Heritage
College of Arts and Humanities



Developing work-based learning in History

This presentation will outline a project since 2015 to develop work-based learning in History. It aims to demonstrate to attendees how work-based learning can be effectively developed in a subject area not traditionally associated with this pedagogical approach. It will explore how assessment methodologies drawn from other disciplines, including reflective writing, have been deployed successfully within this context. It will further explore the challenges of working with external partners in a sector under significant funding pressure and how these have been overcome.

As part of a new MA in Public History and Heritage, students take a compulsory work placement with an external organisation. Current partners include the National Museums of Wales (in Swansea and Cardiff), the South Wales Miners’ Museum, the South Wales Miners’ Library, Oystermouth Castle (Swansea Council), Gwent & Glamorgan Archaeological Trust, the Egypt Centre and the Hafod-Morfa Copperworks project. The placements, worth 20 credits, involve 100 hours of work, and are assessed by satisfactory completion of that work, an introductory 1000-word assignment outlining the placement aims and objectives, a 3000-word reflective portfolio and an interview with examiners. The initiative grew out of an earlier extra-curricular Heritage Skills project, funded via the AHRC, which enabled students to gain experience in the sector but without an associated qualification. The module is currently running for the second time, with twelve students on placement. The presentation will draw on evidence from formal and informal feedback from students and partners, as well as comments from external examiners.

The presenter will be Dr Catherine Fletcher, who was appointed Associate Professor in History and Heritage in 2015 to lead the new MA, having previously been Lecturer in Public History at the University of Sheffield.

Session Outline

The session will consist of a 15-minute presentation followed by Q&A. It will appeal to staff who are thinking of developing work-based learning initiatives, especially in disciplines where this is not current practice.

Key Words

work-based learning, assessment, external partners, heritage, history

Key Messages

Opportunities and challenges in developing and assessing work-based learning.



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