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Introduction to Work-Based Learning


What is Work-Based Learning?

Work-Based Learning is an educational approach, or instructional methodology that uses the workplace or real work to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them connect school experiences to real-life, work activities and future career opportunities.  A quality work-based learning program, when feasible, should be an integral part of a more comprehensive program that integrates academic courses and career technical education. Students benefit from work-based learning that connects to classroom instruction.  EC 51760 (a) (d) 51760.1 (e) (4-6) 



A student’s placement should be designed to emphasize learning in the workplace. The experience may provide students with exposure to a wide range of career areas and worksites in order to help the student make informed choices about education, training options, and career pursuits.  Districts should consider safety, staff qualifications and potential learning opportunities when placing students.  EC51760.1 (e) (1-3)

Quality Work-Based Learning should include the following elements:

  • Direct interaction between student and industry professionals

  • A sequence of experiences that begins with awareness and moves on to exploration and hands-on preparation

  • Clearly defined learning objectives related to classroom curricula

  • Alignment with  students’ career interests

  • Alignment with the state standards and industry/occupational standards

  • Exposure to a wide range of industries and occupations

  • Collaboration between employers and educators, with clearly defined roles for each

  • Activities with a range of levels of intensity and duration

  • Intentional student preparation and opportunities for reflection



Work-Based Learning Continuum

WBL Continuum - (MS Word Format)

Building Your WBL Plan

WBL & Curriculum Planning Tool

WBL Calendar














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