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Learning from Work Experience in Social Sciences

Module titleLearning from Work Experience in Social Sciences
Module codeSSI2001
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Dr Lauren Stentiford (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks



Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module is designed to help you gain a relevant work placement and to use your work experience as an opportunity for personal and academic development. The module will give you the tools to reflect critically upon your placement. You will also be encouraged to continue to reflect on the skills that you develop during your placement and to consider how all of this relates to your degree studies. You will be expected to search for your own work placement, although you can request support in this process from module employability officer.

The module aims to enable learning from the whole experience of work including a focus on how people learn from work, and more generic workplace skills and knowledges. These include: understanding organisational structures and practices, personal development planning, and lifelong learning through reflection and critical analysis. In addition, the module will provide a series of workshops, including an opportunity to interact with careers advisors and participate in a reflective writing workshop.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to develop your personal management skills and experience of learning through work. You will be encouraged to research and reflect on a range of work-related ‘explorations’ - from the nature of an organisation and your role within it, to employment practices, self-appraisal and continuing professional development, linking this with your own personal development planning. The module allows you to fully explore the links between the skills developed and the knowledge and understanding gained from your degree discipline. By practising specific skills for employment the module aims to prepare you for the world of work beyond university and to increase your knowledge and understanding of a range of professions.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. 1. Demonstrate understanding of what your placement organisation does; how it is managed, the culture of the organisation and what might influence this.
  • 2. 2. Demonstrate understanding of the experiential learning process and some ability to reflect on and evaluate learning from work experience.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Critically reflect on the relationship between the learning and skills developed in your discipline, with learning and skills developed through your work placement.
  • 4. Systematically research the academic background to a key issue arising from your work placement.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Identify the skills needed in relation to particular job/career opportunities.
  • 6. Analyse your own personal management skills, identifying ways to improve through personal development planning.
  • 7. Demonstrate ability to communicate and present yourself effectively in CVs, applications, presentations and interviews.

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Preparing for your work placement
  • Personal development planning
  • Learning from experience
  • Reflection, reflective writing and preparing to write critical logs
  • An introduction to employment policies and practices.
  • Values and professionalism in the workplace
  • Personal Development and Academic Skills review
  • Preparing for work after university
  • Preparing for assessment

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1010 x 1 hour workshops
Placement4040 hours work placement
Guided Independent Study10Reflective journal kept during work experience
Guided Independent Study20Preparation of tasks related to teaching and learning sessions
Guided Independent Study20Planning and preparation for work placement and work placement activities
Guided Independent Study50Completion of activities for assessment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Description of a critical work incident and a plan for reflection500 words1,2,4,5Written
Personal action planEquivalent to 500 words5-6Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective logs602,250 words1-2, 4, 6Written feedback and grade
Individual presentation401,500 words, equivalent to 10 minutes in length1, 3-5, 7Written feedback and grade


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Reflective logsReflective logs (2,250 words)1-2, 4, 6August/September re-assessment period
Individual presentationWritten script for a presentation (1500 words, equivalent to 10 minutes in length)1, 3-5, 7August/September re-assessment period


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Bolton, G. and Delderfeld, R. (2018) Reflective Practice: Writing and Professional Development, 5th edn., Los Angeles: Sage.

Cascio, W. (2000). Managing a Virtual Workplace. The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), 14(3), 81-90.

Cottrell, S. (2015), Skills for Success: The Personal Development Planning Handbook. Palgrave Study Guides. London

Edgell, S., Gottfried, H. and Granter, E. (eds.) (2016) The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment, London: Sage.

Fanthorne, C. (2004), Work Placements – A Survival Guide for Students. Palgrave Study Guides. Macmillan, London. Hatton, N. and Smith, D. (1995) Facilitating reflection: issues and research, Forum of education, 50, (1) 49-65.

Illeris, K. (2009) Contemporary theories of learning. London: Routledge.

Kolb, D. (2014) Experiential Learning: Experience as a Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Pearson Education.

Mehta, K. & Shah, V. (2019). Global Business: Virtual Workplaces and Collaborations. International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology, 9(4).

Moon, J. (2006), Learning Journals: A handbook for reflective practice and professional development. Abingdon: Routledge.

Neugebauer, J. and Evans-Brain, J. (2016) Employability: Making the most of your career development. London: Sage Publications.

Noon, M., Blyton, P. and Morrell K. (2013) The Realities of Work: Experiencing Work and Employment in Contemporary Society, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Schon, D. (1991). The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Useful materials on many aspects of learning from experience are also available online at

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Suggested journal resources include:

  • Journal of Education and Work
  • Work, Employment and Society
  • Gender, Work and Organisation
  • Reflective Practice

Key words search

Work experience, learning, employability, placement, reflection.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Last revision date