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Jobs to Careers demonstrates a number of innovative instructional strategies that can serve as models for future work-based learning programs. Work-based learning requires substantially different instructional strategies than those used in traditional education and training programs. At the same time, work-based learning is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Jobs to Careers projects blended work-based learning with other modes of instruction, including online and/or distance learning, classroom instruction, and one-on-one or group tutorials. The delivery of work-based learning itself was similarly diverse, employing such techniques as project-based learning, student portfolios, learning teams, coaching and mentoring, the use of teachable moments or critical tasks during work, and observation and demonstration.

Jobs to Careers projects delivered college courses at the worksite by having faculty locate their courses in provider facilities, by offering courses online, and by appointing supervisors and other staff as adjunct faculty.


Hybrid Learning Strategies

Seattle Project: Innovations in Work-Based Learning
Allied Health Dean of Renton Technical College at the Seattle site describes curriculum changes to its medical assistant program to allow for work-based learning and to better meet the educational needs of frontline workers:

Learning Circles for Health Technicians: Marie Walks Through the Tools and Settings

Northern Arizona’s Jobs to Careers project combined a variety of work-based, classroom, and distance learning techniques to deliver instruction and award college credits to public health technicians serving the Navajo reservation in Chinle, Arizona. The slide and narration presented by a Northern Arizona University project manager illustrate this variety of instructional techniques; “Marie,” an employee learner, used employer-approved projects, work-based critical incident/task reviews, and participant learning portfolios. The presentation applied how these tools were applied within three settings: individual work; small-group tutorials; and individual multimedia tele-consultations:

Our approach utilizes three tools in three settings. We have all used some of them before. First, a team of four employees is formed. Employer-approved projects, work-based critical incident/task review, and participant learning portfolios are the tools we will use. These tools will be applied in three settings: individual work, small-group tutorials, and individual multimedia tele-consultation. Before learners begin work-based learning, they will attend a three-day retreat to learn how to engage in work-based learning, to use the technology, and also to learn about how to move on from work-based learning to distance education degree programs and other career-advancing options. This program also involves serious systems changes for both the employer and the academic institution.

With the agreement and full, enthusiastic support of her employer, a health technician named Marie may be assigned a project to lead a rapid-cycle quality improvement initiative to reduce waiting times in the pediatric clinic. Marie will work individually to get the project going and in an inter-professional team that she is empowered by the supervisor to convene. In the weekly small-group tutorial, a faculty member beams into the conference room where Marie and three other employees are learning as a team. Marie shares progress on her project and challenges of the project. The group brainstorms solutions. The faculty member connects the challenges faced with background and solutions in the literature. As our employee encounters additional challenges, she checks into the online public health clinic about twice a week, essentially online office hours. The faculty member in charge of these office hours beams into the very PC that the learner is using with video conferencing and application sharing. During individual multimedia tele-consultation, learning occurs across all three tools.

Marie’s routine job is to check in patients and do follow-up with them. And she notes in her portfolio that she has identified a critical task. How do I motivate parents of newborns to install a car seat after their first visit if they haven’t already done so? She brings this critical task up in her next weekly small-group tutorial. The group discusses and the tutor connects the group with principles in the literature, checking off the learning objectives addressed.

Our learner’s portfolio is getting bigger. She is documenting critical tasks, her progress toward meeting learning objectives, the results of her project, and she is writing reflections on lessons learned, future applications, and career plans. In addition to using her portfolio extensively in the small-group tutorials, it is being reviewed during the individual multimedia tele-consultation by the faculty mentor. Indeed, the tutor and the faculty mentor have developed university-approved rubrics to evaluate the student’s performance, relying for the most part on the portfolio as a basis for assigning grades and conferring credit.

San Francisco Project: Converting traditional curriculum to work-based learning
City College of San Francisco staff explains how the college has benefited from adapting curriculum for a community health worker certificate program to incorporate work-based learning:

Why Hybrid Instruction PowerPoint
Health 64 Course Syllabus

Health 64 Online Course Outline
City College of San Francisco partnered with Tenderloin Health, a provider of services to homeless people and other hard-to-serve populations in the city’s Tenderloin district. CCSF adopted hybrid methods, including classroom and online learning, to train and certify community health workers, substantially revising a program it had offered through traditional classroom methods for 17 years. The syllabus and course outline provide an example of how a revised course was organized as “tech-enhanced.”

Crisis Management Syllabus
The University of Alaska Jobs to Careers project relied heavily on distance learning in combination with work-based learning aided by mentors. Formats such as audio conferencing were essential to delivering instruction to behavioral health workers located thousands of miles apart across the Bering Straits region. 

College Faculty in the Workplace 

Community Colleges Get to Work: Adopting Work-Based Learning in Partnership with Health Care Employers
SSTAR Excels: Investing in a Work-Based Learning Approach to Professional Development
In Fall River, Massachusetts, Bristol Community College worked with supervisors at SSTAR to deliver behavioral health curricula online and in the classroom. For example, a BCC faculty member and SSTAR supervisors and staff jointly developed a course, Changing Substance Abuse Behaviors through the Group Process. College faculty members also went to the SSTAR facilities in Fall River, Massachusetts, and North Kingstown, Rhode Island, to teach the classroom component of a course in group process. Training participants were evaluated at these workplaces by supervisors and an external expert on certain dimensions of group skills facilitation. Supervisors provided clinical supervision in group and one-on-one settings. Counselors-in-training shadowed current counselors. In addition, BCC faculty members facilitated an online component of the course, which provided opportunities for workers to complete reading and participate in online class discussions at a place and time that was convenient. 

Fall River Project: SSTAR staff working as adjunct faculty
An academic dean at Bristol Community College, an educational partner in the Fall River, Massachusetts project site of Jobs to Careers, describes the role and value of engaging workplace supervisors as adjunct faculty to support work-based learning:

Community Colleges Get to Work: Adopting Work-Based Learning in Partnership with Health Care Employers
BUSN 104 Delivery Mode Lesson Plan Rubric
In Waianae, Hawaii, Leeward Community College has offered college-level training for the Waianae Coast Community Health Center for more than 15 years. In its Jobs to Careers project, Leeward expanded the continuum of training services at the Waianae facility. The partnership enrolled 83 frontline employees in work-based learning, covering word processing, medical office procedures, medical terminology, electronic medical records, quality and performance, health and safety, business services, and customer service. Leeward and Waianae collaborated closely in developing every aspect of the Jobs to Careers program. College faculty designed and taught the college-credit courses, while senior administrators at the health center taught the noncredit courses. For each course, Leeward identified the learning objectives and competencies to be taught at work or in a traditional lecture or online. The learning rubric illustrates how instruction was divided between work-based supervisors and college faculty.