Welcome to WIL

Work Integrated Learning

Types & Variations

WIL Types

Medicine Hat College has the most experience with traditional forms of WIL such as mandatory practicums, clinical placements, and apprenticeships. Although most other forms of WIL are represented at Medicine Hat College some are less well known than others. Below is a comprehensive list of the various forms of WIL.

  1. Professional Practicum or Clinical Placement
  2. Apprenticeship
  3. Cooperative Education
  4. Field Placement
  5. Service Learning
  6. Work Experience
  7. Internship
  8. Entrepreneurship
  9. Community and Industry Research and Projects

WIL Experiential Learning diagram


WIL Variations & Combinations

Within WIL there are numerous variations and combinations of attributes to allow for flexibility for educators, organizations, and students.

The most common variations include:

  • Placement or Competitive hiring
  • Individual or Team Projects
  • Unpaid or Paid
  • Curricular or Non-curricular
  • Mandatory or Optional
  • Full-time or Part-time
  • Days, Weeks, or Months
  • Supervision (Employer or Faculty)
  • Evaluation (Employer or Faculty)
  • Location (Community or Classroom)
The following defines each type of WIL along with example programs and situations. Detailed MHC descriptions are coming soon.

WIL Type CEWIL Definition MHC Application
Professional Practicum or Clinical Placement Clinical and Professional Practicums involve work experience under the supervision of an experienced registered or licensed professional (e.g. preceptor) in any discipline that requires practice-based work experience for professional licensure or certification. Practicums are generally unpaid and, as the work is done in a supervised setting, typically students do not have their own workload/caseload. Practicum or clinical placements occur in Child and Youth Care Counsellor, Early Learning and Child Care, Education, Occupational/Physical/Speech Therapist Assistant, Social Work, Paramedic, Practical Nursing, and Registered Nursing
Apprenticeship Apprenticeship is an agreement between a person (an apprentice) who wants to learn a skill and an employer who needs a skilled worker and who is willing to sponsor the apprentice and provide paid related practical experience under the direction of a certified journeyperson in a work environment conducive to learning the tasks, activities and functions of a skilled worker. Apprenticeship occurs in Automotive Service Technician, Carpenter, Electrician, Heavy Equipment Technician, Plumber, Steamfitter Pipefitter, and Welder
Co-operative Education Co-operative education (Co-op) alternates a student’s academic studies with paid work terms. Co-op is one of the most well-defined types of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) in Canada. Co-op is also the only type of WIL currently accredited by CEWIL Canada. Co-op work terms have specific requirements; the student must be engaged in productive work for which they receive remuneration, the student’s performance in the workplace is supervised and evaluated by their employer, and that the work term lasts for a minimum of 12 weeks and/or 420 hours. Co-op is intentionally designed to ensure that the skills the student learns are relevant to today’s job market. Co-op Education occurs in the Information and Technology Program
Field Placements Field Placements offer private sector businesses, not-for-profits, service sector, and public sector organizations the opportunity to engage students for part-time/short-term intensive hands-on practical experience in a setting relevant to their choice of study. Field placements occur in the Power Engineering and Administrative Office Professional Programs
Service Learning Service Learning, often referred to as Community Service Learning (CSL), integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and critical reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities. Community Service learning is usually an unpaid, volunteer opportunity offered as part of an academic course with an average of 3-4 hours of engagement a week. At the end of the course, students are evaluated by faculty. Service learning occurs in the Occupational/Physical/Speech Therapist Assistant and Education programs
Internship Internships are typically single discipline-specific, supervised, and structured work experience placements. Usually for credit, they can be paid or unpaid. While internships are often longer and not as structured as Co-ops, they are still intentional and planned. Typically, internships follow an academic program and offer industry partners more flexibility and a longer time with the student, facilitating significant opportunities for teaching, mentorship and building skills within an organization. Internships can be of any length, but are typically 12 to 16 months long. Internships aren't currently available at MHC
Work Experience The Work Experience Work Integrated Learning (WIL) type is customizable and flexible. Its non-traditional format allows WIL partners and students to create meaningful, self-directed experiential learning through solving organizational problems that more traditional WIL types don’t enable. It is similar to Co-op and Internship without the prescriptive hour and time frame criteria. Work experience occurs in the Art and Design program
Entrepreneurship An entrepreneurship Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) experience provides students with an opportunity to start and build their own business. Often, these experiences are supported through school-supported incubators or accelerators. They allow students to leverage resources, space, mentorship, and funding to engage in business startups’ early-stage development and advance external ideas that address real-world problems for academic credit. Entrepreneurship occurs through the Entrepreneurship Development Centre
Community and Industry Research and Projects Community and Industry Research & Projects (CIRPs) allow students to engage in research that occurs primarily in workplaces or directly with a community partner as part of their academic requirements. These can include Consulting Projects, Design Projects, and Community Based Research Projects. CIRPs very often include a collaboration between an academic course and a community partner. The goal is to provide students with a real-world approach to their course material, bringing to life the course concepts through industry collaboration. Community and industry projects occur in Information technology, Build Environment Engineering Technology, Environmental Reclamation and Business programs