work-based learning


Federal legislation provides several definitions for work-based learning. While Illinois does not have one formalized definition for work-based learning, Illinois has a defined continuum of work-based learning opportunities that are defined both in statute and this dictionary.

  • There is general agreement that work-based learning provides participants with work-based opportunities to practice and enhance the skills and knowledge gained in their program of study or industry training program, as well as to develop employability, and includes an assessment and recognition of acquired knowledge and skills.
  • At the federal level, Perkins V legislation states that work-based learning means sustained interactions with industry or community professionals in real workplace settings, to the extent practicable, or simulated environments at an educational institution that fosters in-depth, firsthand engagement with the tasks required in each career field and that are aligned to curriculum and instruction.

Work-Based Learning and Host Engagement Continuums

The work-based learning continuum represents the many forms of work-based learning that grow in intensity depending on the model. However, this continuum is not intended to convey a fixed or ideal progression. As individuals learn through their work-based learning experiences, they may return to less intensive models to develop different skills or explore additional interests. Individuals should be supported to engage in these activities iteratively as they explore the multiple entry and exit points of career pathways.

Work-based learning continuum: Career awareness, career exploration, team-based challenge, career development experience, youth/pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship. Host Engagement Continuum: As the managing organization role decreases across the span of the work-based learning continuum, the host/employer role increases.