Work-integrated learning


Work-integrated learning (WIL) refers to an educational approach where work-based experiences are interwoven with theoretical learning as an intentional part of a programme’s curriculum. This approach requires students to engage in reciprocal, authentic and meaningful work, that involved themselves, the University and a work site. 

An important element of this is teaching for employability, which occurs across our programmes, whether work-integrated or not. The WIL working group is exploring how such an approach will fit within or inform the development of the new Curriculum Framework. 

This exploratory work is being done with an initial emphasis on undergraduate programmes (due to their greater capacity to integrate WIL) followed by postgraduate programmes (many of which have explicit WIL elements as.  

The terms outlined below have a distinct meaning in the context of this project.  

Work-integrated learning (WIL): defined as "an educational approach that uses relevant work-based experiences to allow students to integrate theory with the meaningful practice of work as an intentional component of the curriculum.” (used by Universities NZ)​ 

Work: This is interpreted across a broad range of manifestations and contexts, including:

  • Private sector​ 
  • Public sector​ 
  • Non-government organisations​ 
  • Iwi, hapū​ 
  • Communities​ 

Employability: This is interpreted as competencies, such as: 

  • Skills 
  • Knowledge 
  • Networks 
  • Personal attributes 

Emerging ideas


A typology of activity regarding contemporary WIL research and themes developed by Rowe, Mackaway, & Winchester-Seeto (2012) has provided a useful foundation for the working group in terms of the landscape and scope for consideration. 

Next steps

The working group have been formulating emerging ideas via data gathering and faculty ideation sessions.​ The next steps will involve the creation of exemplars at both a programme and course level for further discussion and feedback.

Get in touch

If you would like to share your thoughts on the ideas raised by the WIL working group, or learn more about the wider programme of work, please email the Curriculum Framework Transformation Programme at