Workplace-based experiential learning (also referred to as work-integrated learning or WIL) offers opportunities for students to develop and articulate a range of employability skills before they leave university.
There are several types of work-integrated learning: paid and unpaid, full- and part-time, curricular and co-curricular.
- For more information about WIL, see this Practical Guide for Work-integrated Learning from the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario
- For more resources to support WIL, see also CEWIL (Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning Canada)
- For modules you can import into your course to support students’ career skills development, see Niagara College’s WIL Open Module Initiative
- Set yourself up for success using the University of Waterloo’s WIL Quality Framework or watch this presentation from the University of Calgary
Placements provide students the opportunity to apply theories and concepts to a practice-related environment. Usually, placements are linked to professional programs, such as teacher education, social work, nursing, anthropology, or law.
Placements are usually unpaid, but students receive academic credit toward their degree. Community partners may be involved in the evaluation of students’ performance in their placements.
Learn more about unpaid placements
Internships are paid work assignments that are a required part of academic programs that allow students to apply and expand their knowledge and skills in a work-related, professional environment.
Internships can be part-time or full-time. Students’ work is evaluated based on predetermined learning goals set by all stakeholders involved: employer, instructor/supervisor, and student. Students may submit a final work report and a transcript notification of pass/fail.
Learn more about Carleton’s funded internship for undergraduate student research, I-CUREUS
Co-operative education, or “co-op”, programs are organized in 4 or 8 months paid work opportunities that can be with or without course credit.
Co-op students can alternate between full time academic terms and work terms. Their performance in co-op is supervised and evaluated by the employer and monitored by the university.
Learn more about co-op