Measuring and evaluating work-based learning: The Student Impact Survey
Many of the current challenges faced by learners, educators, and employers – such as the skills gap, access to education and training, or adapting to changing job markets – continue to emphasize the need for accessible, inclusive, and innovative career readiness solutions. The promise of work-based learning (WBL) as that solution is felt across institutions, disciplines, and industries. Recent studies, including one published by Columbia University's Teacher College, show that WBL is positively associated with employment after college, increased student confidence, degree completion, and post-degree earnings. In fact, other studies conducted by the Brookings Institute and Strada Education Network have also shown that WBL is a trusted avenue for advancing equity for learners – especially among bachelor’s degree recipients ages 21 to 65 – and innovation for many participating employers.
In an effort to further the impact of WBL, Rippen serves as the bridge between students and employers, helping educators, organizations, and learners collaborate on real industry projects to close the gap between higher education and employment.
With a framework that matches learners to employers based on skills rather than experiences and emphasizes virtual delivery and flexible format, Riipen has accommodated and removed barriers with more than 180,000 learner experiences and 24,000 employer projects.
Riipen’s approach to delivering real-work experience empowers learners with employable skills, confidence, career clarity, and the ability to build a professional network. By evaluating student reflections pre and post-experience and by surveying employers involved in our projects, we have determined that Riipen’s WBL experiences largely impact skills development, employer capacity to effectively and efficiently meet the needs and demands of the workforce, and employment outcomes.
What’s the Outcome?
Riipen work-based experiences are proven to reduce barriers faced by students and connect them with employers, developing applicable work-place skills that lead to employment.
Notably, over 92% of surveyed learners reported that they gained valuable experience that would help them in the workplace. 68% of participants said that they received a job offer after completion and 72% of participants self-identified as individuals from underserved communities.
The parallel – or causal – success between students and employers is also clear, with 99% of employers reporting that Riipen’s WBL experiences benefited their organization. With access to a diverse talent pool and efficient recruitment, employers are well positioned to invest in the current state and future of their business.
So what then, do these results further reveal about the value of work-based learning opportunities? And what can we replicate to continue to support learners, and employers, in transition from school and to the workforce?
Unleashing Equity and Growth
The Student Impact Survey highlights the growth trajectory of students from improving foundational skills to preparing for the workforce and ensuring employability. By integrating practical workplace experiences, students are provided with the opportunity to develop in-demand skills through equitable access to career development and exploration. At the same time, employers are enabled to increase their industry visibility and secure diverse talent.
Ultimately, employment outcomes are both a direct and indirect result of WBL, increasing student and employer capacity while mitigating overall risk, challenges, and barriers. These findings also indicate that while Riipen projects benefit both students and employers, each party can measure success in work-based learning through similar metrics, particularly skills and career development, networking, and real-world experience.
As we remain committed to creating and measuring meaningful ways to bridge the gap between higher education and industry, students and employers – and their diverse needs, experiences, and goals – will continue to drive the Riipen experience.
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.