Work-based learning at Birkbeck
Staff at the Institute of Professional Studies at Birkbeck believe that there is a direct relationship between learning and the experiences we have at work and in other areas of our life. In our view people learn through the challenges they encounter, whether these are at work, in the university, or elsewhere. Formal qualifications are recognised to be of value, but the role of experience in learning and the development of expertise is frequently overlooked.
At the Institute we have developed a nationally innovative academic model which can support people in using experience at work, or in other contexts such as volunteering, leisure pursuits etc as the focus of their academic study. Through helping people give formal structure to their experience so that they can evaluate and analyse it, we can build on experience-based learning to create academic awards.
We agree with Aldous Huxley said, ‘Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him’, and we are working to ensure that we offer people the opportunity to develop themselves to the full through drawing on their experience to form part of higher education awards.