What is Work-Based Learning (WBL) and how will it make you more successful?

@Nikole Hyndman

It is our goal to stay at the vanguard of teaching methodologies to offer students an educational experience that encourages all students to explore and discover their true potential.

At the heart of IE University’s entrepreneurial spirit is a passion for learning and self-improvement. We believe that a student’s education is so much more than the contents of a textbook. It is our goal to stay at the vanguard of teaching methodologies to offer students an educational experience that encourages all students to explore and discover their true potential.

At IEU, we are constantly challenging ourselves to discover new and exciting ways to enhance the education we offer students. By taking a practice-based approach to education, and embracing the benefits of work-based learning (WBL), we are confident that we are preparing students for successful professional careers and exciting futures full of opportunity.

Work-based learning (WBL) explained

WBL is an educational strategy that provides students with the opportunity to put theory into practice with real-life work experiences. This can range from internships to job shadowing, simulations or mentorship programs. WBL gives students the opportunity to explore what they have learned in the classroom within a real-world context. Not only is this immensely beneficial for hands-on learners, but it also gives students some much-needed direction, and it gets them thinking about what they want to do after graduation.

This approach to education proves highly effective for recruiting processes at top firms and companies. When students can prove that they have exposure to the working world, employers are able to see them as mature candidates who are prepared to face the diverse challenges of today’s workplace.

WBL is gaining serious traction on an international scale. In 2015, the OECD launched a study on work-based learning in vocational education and training (VET) to consider how countries have been able to offer these experiences and what can be done to enhance future WBL opportunities.

Discover new and exciting learning environments

This educational strategy effectively bridges the gap between education and the working world. Of course, theory is important for any university-level education. However, an overemphasis on theory can make it hard for students to ground their knowledge in something tangible that will result in a career after graduation.

In order to make sure our IEU grads are well-rounded and ready for the working world, here are just a few examples of WBL at IE University.

Internships & Job Opportunities from the Career Management Center

Our undergraduate degrees open students to countless possibilities when it comes to their future career paths. With so much freedom of choice, students could end up feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what direction is best. Thanks to IEU’s strong relationships with leading organizations, our students have access to some of the best internship and job opportunities on the market. The Career Management Center (CMC) sends out regular emails notifying students of new opportunities, in addition to providing remarkable services that help students make these important decisions.

Simulations & Contests


WBL is more than internships and job opportunities. At IEU, we create simulations and contests that give students the chance to engage with real-world challenges. We send teams of students to renowned international events, including the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition, the International Case Competition, and Model United Nations conferences. This kind of experience will not only help you “test-drive” a future career, but it will also serve as an experience to boost your CV.

IEU Labs

ARCHITECTURE-INTERNSHIP-PROGRAM

If there is one area of IEU that represents the philosophy of the WBL approach to education, it’s our IEU Labs. This program was designed primarily for first- and second-year students to allow them to experience what it’s like to work in their desired field. Students who participate in this program will have to solve real problems as they work as consultants for real businesses, firms, and institutions. This is an invaluable WBL experience that all students should seriously consider!

In the classroom

Our faculty members are dedicated to providing students with the theoretical background they require to enter their desired field. However, IEU’s professors understand the importance of a practical understanding of the application of theory, which is why they work hard to take a hands-on approach in the classroom. The Business Plan Challenge, for example, has Bachelor in Business Administration (BBA) students in their first semester of Introduction to Management or Organizational Management develop real business plans, and compete for a chance to get investor backing.

By applying a WBL approach to education, our students are free to experience their education in an inspirational, hands-on environment. If you would like to learn more about our teaching methodology, or any of the programs mentioned in this article, feel free to contact us at university@ie.edu.