Education - Workplace Integrated Learning - Legal Realities

Presented By 2050 Knowledge Corporation – Speaker – John Boon, J.D.

Available – Training Catalog


Workplace integrated learning (WIL) is a hot topic – not just in education sectors, but in worlds of politics, economic development and enterprise management.

Workplace experience programs are not new, but greater emphasis on preparing people for work or their own business creates a need to get students practical work or business experience.
Despite this history and expansion, practices are in need of reform if students, institutions, workplace hosts, employers or business sectors are to achieve their goals and protect their interests.
This session focuses on vital reforms with contract management and regulation. There is a tendency by some in the education sector to think it operates outside legal and commercial systems. It does not.
Module 1 - Education and Work - Related and Distinct - Not Linear Events
  1. Education and work are not linear time and place constrained events.
  2. Existing contracts – key to understanding relationships and distinctions.
  3. Education is the key to productive work.
  4. Workplace integrated learning – institution program, corporate training or professions focused.
Module 2 - Multiple Workplace Learning Contracts - Contract Freedom - Regulation - Caution
  1. Long protected contract freedoms and contract law apply to all education sector contracts – including multiple workplace integrated learning contracts.
  2. Contract relationships – institution and student – institution and host – host and student (not always required).
  3. Multiple contracts work better than one contract (exceptions are rare).
  4. Institutions provide a contract service to students – that may include a work experience element made possible by the institution contracting for a service input from a workplace host.
  5. Institutions and hosts do not jointly contract with students – institution provides 100% of the education service (exceptions are rare).
  6. Why all contract parties – and regulators – must be cautious with WIL.
  7. Limited authority of state actors to impose any service contract’s terms – including the nature of a WIL program or how it is assembled with hosts.
  8. Contracts may trigger regulation if contract risk mitigation needs public and private law instruments.
  9. Regulators make and enforce laws – contract parties make and enforce their contract.
  10. Regulators can govern how a service is provided – not what is provided.
  11. Education quality regulators cannot usurp authority of workplace regulators.
  12. Legal issues exist if long periods of work are not supervised by institutions.
Module 3 - Issues with the Term ``Integrated`` - Types of Workplace Learning - Contract Driven
  1. The term “Integrated” – in this context – gives rise to multiple issues.
  2. Parties in each contract or in distinct contracts are not integrated – they don’t jointly contract with third parties.
  3. The word “Integrated” is often properly used if work is made an element of an education service contract program. – the host is not integrated as an education service provider.
  4. It can also be used if work experience is an element of the requirements a profession imposes on a member applicant. – profession standards protect consumers of a professional’s service.
  5. Many terms are used to describe WIL types – no universally accepted legal definitions
  6. Terms draw their meaning from institution and student contract intentions – not regulation – what the parties contractually agree to.
  7. Regulation must not needlessly restrict private bargains, experimentation and innovation.
Module 4 - Institution and Workplace Host Contracts - Placements - Students and Hosts
  1. Hosts contract with institutions to help institutions build work experience services for students – that service to students is delivered as part of the institution and student education contract.
  2. Placements relate to duties the host has to the institution.
  3. Institutions should not contractually promise to students what they cannot provide directly or provide by way of third party legal commitments.
  4. Scarce placements create gateways for otherwise qualified persons.
  5. Institutions must rely more on existing technology and other service inputs in the community – and rely less on governments paying to provide everything onsite.
  6. Education WIL can involve students having a separate employment contracts (paid – unpaid) with hosts.
  7. The student is then both an education service consumer and a workplace service provider – the separate and distinct contracts must have complementary provisions.