The University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN18 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 3223-3230
ISBN: 978-84-09-02709-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0850
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
The contribution of internship programmes in developing students’ generic competencies such as teamwork skills, adaptability, self-management skill, interpersonal and communication skills, is well-supported in the literature (Crebert, et al., 2004; Little & Harvey, 2006). However, due to the varying experience amongst individual students, the identification of learning outcomes of students’ internship experience continues to be a challenge, particularly in relation to generic competencies (Hu, Abadeer, & Yusman, 2009). As a result, teachers often come up with intended learning outcomes which are either too vague (e.g. students should be able to gain solid, practical experience in a placement related to the field of information technology) or too narrow (e.g. students should be able to identify and evaluate potential health and safety issues in construction activities). Even when attempts are made to indicate the development of generic competencies, such as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with others in the team, it is questionable whether current assessment methods can effectively assess the development of these generic competencies. Current assessment methods used for assessing student learning in internship are limited to the use of internship report, daily or weekly log and performance appraisal from the work supervisor. Although performance appraisal often complement the internship report, it is often very brief and provides very little detail on students’ achievement and on their generic competencies development (McNamara, 2013). Without a better solution, it is common for students to be graded on a pass or fail basis.

In this presentation, findings from a research project on engineering internship experience will be presented to illustrate the uniqueness of each individual student’s experience, as well as the discrepancies between their perceived learning outcomes and what is being assessed. Based on the findings, we will discuss how the unique learning outcomes of each individual student can be identified and assessed by giving students more flexibility and responsibility in creating their own learning experience.

[1] Crebert, G., Bates, M., Bell, B., Patrick, C.J., & Cragnolini, V. (2004). Developing generic skills at university, during work placement and in employment: Graduates' perceptions. Higher Education Research and Development, 23(2), 147-165.
[2] Hu, X., Abadeer, O., & Yusman, C. (2009). Evaluation of engineering work experience programs (I): Principles. Paper presented at the Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference, Adelaide.
[3] Little, B., & Harvey, L. (2006). Learning through work placements and beyond. UK: The Higher Education Academy.
[4] McNamara, J. (2013). The challenge of assessing professional competence in work integrated learning. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 38(2), 183-197.
Experiential learning, internship, assessment, learning outcomes.