Co-operative Education and Workplace Learning
One focus of the Co-operative Education and Workplace Learning (CEWL) research program is directed at co-op education at the secondary level. About 10% of Canada’s 1.55 million secondary-school students enroll in co-op education each academic year. In this part of the curriculum, schools and employers co-operate to involve students in extended periods of time at a workplace while enrolled in full-time study. Typically students also engage in classroom sessions related to their placements.
The CEWL research program involves studies of policy, curriculum, learning, instruction, accessibility, and assessment in co-op education. The overall aim of this research is to enhance the potential of co-op education for easing the school to work transition, for motivating adolescents, and for informing youth about the world of work.
The CEWL research program consists of a series of studies. We have studied educational policies in Canada about workplace learning, we have conducted surveys and interviews with students about their co-op experiences, we have interviewed parents and workplace supervisors about co-op, and we have conducted case studies of students learning in the workplace. We have studied adult workers and students with physical or cognitive disabilities, and have also focused on at-risk students. We have conducted surveys of science teachers and employers in science-rich workplaces to examine the links between school and work, and we have conducted document analyses of youth safety programs with particular attention to issues of self-advocacy and self-determination.
Over the past 12 years, the CEWL research program has been funded by various grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.