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Assessing the impact of work-based learning at ASU: Student feedback survey results

Arizona State University and Riipen continue to assess the impact of work-based learning on student success and engagement. Here are the results.
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July 11, 2023
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Arizona State University is consistently recognized for its dedication and ability to deliver academic excellence, innovation, and equity for all students. To advance those efforts, ASU has developed teams, departments, clubs, and organizations that promote work-integrated learning. As a form of experiential learning, work-integrated learning offers students the opportunity to develop industry-specific skills, explore future career trajectories, and experience higher career satisfaction and earnings. At ASU, more than 115 courses and 10,150 students are participating in work-integrated learning by way of short-term industry projects and work simulation programs.  

To deliver short-term industry projects, ASU has partnered with Riipen to deliver real-world work opportunities for its students since the fall of 2019. Over the past three years of partnership, Riipen has served as the conduit between educators, students, and employers as instructors across the University have turned to Riipen to source industry projects for their courses – and to manage the collaboration between their students and employers. With Riipen 2.0, ASU and other schools can now use a private marketplace feature to easily find and match the right projects for their students while maintaining greater control over the user experience. With the private marketplace, educators can invite their own network of employers to the Riipen platform. 

In order to measure and evaluate the impact of work-based learning projects, Riipen has continued to develop a number of key partnerships at ASU, including with faculty, administrators, and most recently in 2022, with teams such as Work + Learn, Corporate Partnerships, Lifelong Learning and ASU Enterprise Partners.  

As of 2023, 147 ASU courses have used Riipen to deliver more than 12,155 student experiences across 611 employer projects. Here’s what learners are saying. 

Major takeaways

Student feedback is integral to the success of Riipen and the broader ASU community. Not only do student insights inform the Riipen platform and experience, they also help ASU better align resources and services that complement their curriculum to ensure student success. 

Throughout 2022, students provided unique perspectives on how Riipen helped prepare for the workplace. “I think the experience is critical,” one ASU student said, “and these projects are really good gateways for better understanding the work environment, load, and expectation.”

Other students shared how much they enjoyed getting feedback from working professionals in addition to their professors and the ways they could explore their academic and professional passions. Choosing projects you think you might find interest in allows you to explore your goals for your career and test out what you may be looking for in future work,” another student said. “I really liked being able to connect this Riipen project with my future career.”

While students reflected on how work-based projects facilitated career development, they also pinpointed specific skills that Riipen helped them to develop and refine. From improving in-demand career skills to building a professional network, students have reported a range of benefits.  

Transferable skills 

Work-based learning can help students develop transferable skills that are essential for success in any job or career path they pursue. As exemplified by the ASU Student Survey Results, work-based learning is an excellent way for students to develop and improve important skills that can be applied across different personal and professional environments. Our findings reveal that work-based learning helps students to improve five core transferable skills. Here’s how:

Communication:

Work-based learning encourages students to interact with colleagues, customers, and other stakeholders, developing their communication skills. They learn how to effectively communicate their ideas, listen actively, ask questions, and provide feedback.

Teamwork:

Work-based learning requires students to work collaboratively with others, developing their teamwork and interpersonal skills. Students contribute to team goals, appreciate and leverage diverse perspectives, and resolve conflicts.

Professionalism:

Work-based learning helps students develop professionalism by exposing them to workplace culture, dynamics, expectations, and practices of the industry. 

Critical thinking:

Work-based learning provides students with opportunities to apply critical thinking skills to solve real-world problems. They also learn how to analyze information, identify patterns, assess risks, and make informed decisions. 

Problem-solving:

Work-based learning challenges students to solve problems, make decisions, and create solutions in real-world situations. 

The significance: Maximizing career readiness 

Since the inception of the partnership, Riipen’s work-based learning projects have supported ASU students and institutional leaders in their endeavors to expand their capacity to deliver work-based learning initiatives. This partnership, and consequently these survey results, give way to career readiness, exploration, and opportunity. 

Overall, 82% of ASU students reported that Riipen work-based learning projects help them develop their professional network and grow their employer connections. This leading insight reiterates one of many the sentiments expressed by ASU students: the sense of belonging and the opportunity to develop career skills and clarity offered by work-based learning experiences ultimately lead to broader student success inside the classroom and within the workforce. 

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About Riipen

As the world's largest online work-based learning marketplace, Riipen makes it easy for higher education institutions and industry partners to collaborate on flexible project-based experiential learning opportunities embedding real-life business challenges directly into the curriculum. To learn more about our innovative work-based learning platform and how working with Riipen can result in improved student engagement and student employability outcomes, please use this link to request a call with the Riipen team

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