Drysdale, Maureen, Ward, Lisa J., Johansson, Kristina, Zaitseva, Elena and Sheri, Dressler (2012) Comparing the Attributes of Students in Cooperative Education or Work-Integrated Learning Programs in Four Countries. In: Australian Collaborative Education Network 2012 Conference, 29 October - 2 November 2012, Geelong, Melbourne, Australia. (Unpublished)
Abstract

New technologies, the internalization of markets, and higher numbers of university graduates have led to greater competition for employment and greater needs for higher-order employment skills, practical experience, and a strong sense of competence. An increasing number of students are turning to work-integrated programs of learning (WIL) –where they can gain the necessary skills to enhance their future employment and career prospects.

The aim of this international project was to examine the relationship between work-integrated learning and the psychological variables believed to play a role for success in the transition to the labour market.

Students from four countries (Canada, Sweden, England, and the USA) completed the same online questionnaire measuring self-concept, self-efficacy, hope (goal-setting, goal achievement), procrastination, motivation, study skills, and work ethic. Results indicated there were many attitudes and behaviours shared by WIL and non-WIL students in the four countries – however there were also significant differences that shed light on WIL outcomes and/or the type of students who select WIL, regardless of where they reside. WIL students appear to have a stronger math self-concept and problem-solving self-concept. Non WIL students appear to have more confidence to attain academic and career goals, but it decreases by the end of their studies. On the other hand, confidence increases substantially for WIL students. Gender effects and achievement differences between the two groups will also be discussed. In summary, Students in WIL programs –regardless of where they reside -appear more similar than different.

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