Using Student Lived Experience to Test the Theoretical basis of Work-based Learning


  • Mark Wareing Birmingham City University


lived experience, work-based learning, Foundation degree, assistant practitioners


This paper draws on findings from a hermeneutic phenomenological study to identify whether a mismatch exists between the theoretical foundation of work-based learning and how work-based learning is experienced by work-based learners.
Four models of work-based learning were compared against the lived experiences of former students who had been healthcare assistants (HCAs) working in acute clinical settings and employed within a large NHS hospital. All had completed a two-year Foundation degree in Health and Social Care (FdSc) course in preparation for becoming assistant practitioners (AP). Findings from interviews with participants were compared and contrasted with four models of work-based learning.
While all four models capture the profoundly social nature of work-based learning, none of the models captured the challenge faced by Foundation degree student participants in making the transition from being a healthcare assistant and becoming a work-based learner to becoming an assistant practitioner. This finding was particularly significant to the lived experience of all participants in this study as the assistant practitioner role was completely new to workplace mentors, their departments and the NHS hospital Trust in which the research was undertaken.
This paper suggests that there may be a gap in the literature in respect of a new model of work-based learning that captures the nature of work-based learning within clinical environments. Such a model might act as a differentiator between practice-based and work-based learning.

Author Biography

Mark Wareing, Birmingham City University

Dr Mark Wareing, Room SW306, Seacole West Building, Faculty of Health, Birmingham City University,
City South Campus, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TN, UK
Email:, Phone: +44 (0)121 202 4268, Mobile: +44 (0)7974 150 410


Originally published by The Higher Education Academy

PBLH, Vol 2, Issue 1 (January 2014)





How to Cite

Wareing, M. (2016). Using Student Lived Experience to Test the Theoretical basis of Work-based Learning. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 2(1), 35–50. Retrieved from