By conducting research in this area, the following questions can be addressed: Who are the students, faculty, mentors, and others who contribute to work-based learning in two-year colleges? In what curricular areas does work-based learning exist at the two-year postsecondary level and what models are associated with those occupational areas? What do students experience and learn when involved in them? What factors contribute to the creation of highly effective work-based learning programs in two-year colleges? Answers to these questions are needed to assist policymakers and practitioners engaged in creating new school-to-work programs involving work-based learning or in furthering existing work-based learning programs of all types in the two-year college environment.
The purpose of this two-year study was to document the status of work-based learning in community, junior, and technical colleges. Phase One of the study, conducted in 1993, was a survey census of the nation's 1,200 two-year colleges to describe the scope, scale, and character of work-based learning programs already in existence at the two-year postsecondary level. Readers interested in the results of Phase One of the study are referred to the complete report entitled Work-Based Learning in Two-Year Colleges in the United States (Bragg et al., 1995). The purpose of Phase Two of the study, conducted in 1994, was to gain a more in-depth understanding of all aspects of selected exemplary work-based learning programs. The Phase Two research involved field-based case studies designed to provide qualitative observations and in-depth analysis of ten two-year college work-based learning programs.
To focus the entire study (Phases One and Two), a definition of work-based learning was provided along with a list of the most frequently used models such as clinical-professional and cooperative education. In our Phase One study and throughout this report, work-based learning is defined as
instructional programs that deliberately use the workplace as a site for student learning. Work-based learning programs are formal, structured, and strategically organized by instructional staff, employers, and sometimes other groups to link learning in the workplace to students' college-based learning experiences. Work-based learning programs have formal instructional plans that directly relate students' work-based learning activities to their career goals. These work-based learning experiences are usually but not always college-credit generating. Instructional programs that involve youth apprenticeships, clinical experiences, school-based enterprises, and formal registered apprenticeships are examples of work-based learning programs.
The objectives of Phase Two of the study were to