Exhibition celebrates 20 years of Working, Learning and Adapting.

Posted on 4th July 2018

An interactive exhibition, celebrating 20 years of blending education and practice to develop an innovative way of learning in the workplace, will be open to the public at the University’s Queen’s Park Campus in July.

The CWRS team at the WBIS exhibition.
The CWRS team at the WBIS exhibition.

Hundreds of students across the world have achieved qualifications through the University of Chester’s Work Based and Integrative Studies (WBIS) programmes.

The exhibition, which runs from Wednesday, July 4 until Thursday, July 12, will feature interactive exhibits, videos and artefacts covering:

  • Innovative and sector-leading work on learning, teaching, assessment and practitioner research.
  • Some of the University’s leading engagement with partners including the Civil Service College/National School of Government, Barefoot Coaching, the Mountbatten Institute, Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs and many others.
  • Major public sector and corporate clients such as the Cabinet Office, RAF and NHS to local employers with WBIS degree apprenticeship provision (from Airbus to Chester Zoo).

Twenty years ago, the University built on the work based learning provision it pioneered in the 1980s and 1990s and decided to create a framework that was aimed at professionals already in employment, who could use their work for the purposes of learning.

WBIS is a highly flexible method of learning. Over the last two decades it has allowed individual learners to negotiate their own bespoke learning programme related to their professional role; it has helped configure corporate programmes for organisations with particular professional development needs, and assessed and accredited vocational learning fostered by others. These have included human resources departments and specialist training organisations, who have worked in partnership with Chester, using WBIS to enhance workplace learning and offer academic reward for it.

WBIS is an example of ‘blended learning’, offering a wide range of learning methods including group workshops, experiential learning, where people learn from doing and reflecting on what they did, through online delivery and virtual learning environments. There is also the opportunity to accredit prior learning, including experiential learning in the workplace.

Dr David Perrin, Director of the Centre for Work Related Studies, said: “The University’s distinctive work based learning provision is well-known and this exhibition is designed to showcase the way it has developed and grown over two decades.

“It illustrates how Chester has led the way in recognising that much of the important knowledge capital society exists in the workplace. It also shows how the University has been able to help capture, develop and reward this learning for thousands of part-time learners seeking professional development.”