Cooperative education: Integrating classroom and workplace learning

Cooperative education (co-op) is a strategy of education that combines academic learning in the classroom with real-world practice in a relevant workplace. To provide this mix of learning opportunities, co-op involves collaboration among students, educational institutions, and employers. Real-world experience for students in the form of work-based placements or internships can serve to provide entry for learners into a particular community of practice. Theorising and research into student learning through cooperative education has focussed on the experiential nature of the learning opportunity, and more latterly through sociocultural views of learning. These latter views help us to understand that cooperative education exposes students to worlds of learning that are different but complementary. These complementary worlds have different sociocultural dimensions that afford different learning opportunities to students. Clearly defined integrative pathways are required that allow students to make sense of the learning that they are afforded. The real strength of cooperative education as a strategy of practice-based learning is not that students gain opportunities to learn in the classroom and in the workplace, but that these opportunities are integrated to create learning that is more than the sum of the two parts.
Chapter in Book
Type of thesis
Eames, C. & Coll, R.K. (2010). Cooperative education: Integrating classroom and workplace learning. In S. Billett(Ed.), Learning Through Practice, Professional and Practice-based Learning (pp. 180-196). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.