Co-operative Education & Work-Integrated Learning

Work-integrated learning (WIL), involves a partnership between the student, industry and university to create collaborative learning opportunities through the exchange of ideas, practices and experiences.

A defining feature of co-operative education, as a model of WIL, is the integration of knowledge gained in the university with knowledge accessed or constructed through experiences in workplaces. Co-operative education and other forms of WIL included as part of a degree programme have been shown to develop capabilities that enhance the employability of graduates.

The focus of research in this area is to inform and enhance the cooperative education and WIL experiences for students, industry and AUT.

Current co-operative education and work-integrated learning (WIL) research:

  • Factors influencing the learning experience for co-operative education students.
  • Exploring critical reflection in sport co-operative education.
  • Critical success factors for sustainable WIL relationships.
  • Understanding the impact of WIL students on workplace functionality.
  • An international perspective of co-operative education students’ perceptions of sense of belonging, peer support, social media, and wellbeing.
  • The utility of case study methodology in WIL research.
  • Positioning critical reflection within a co-operative education framework: A transactional model.
  • Examining flexible, innovative and sustainable models of WIL.

A selection of recent publications related to research in co-operative education and WIL

  • Fleming, J. (2015). Exploring stakeholders' perspectives of the influences on student learning in cooperative education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 16(2), 109-119.
  • Fleming, J. (2015). Enhancing cooperative education through action learning projects. In M. Li & Y. Zhao (Eds.), Exploring learning and teaching in higher education. New frontiers in educational research (pp. 171-187). Berlin: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-55352-3_7
  • Fleming, J., & Ferkins, L. (2011). Cooperative and work-integrated education in sports studies. In R. K. Coll & K. E. Zegwaard (Eds.), International handbook for cooperative and work-integrated education: International perspectives of theory, research and practice (2nd ed., pp. 179–188). Lowell, MA: World Association for Cooperative Education.
  • Fleming, J., & Hickey, C. (2013). Exploring cooperative education partnerships: A case study in sport tertiary education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 14(3), 209–221.
  • Lucas, P., & Fleming, J. (2012). Reflection in sport and recreation cooperative education: Journals or blogs? Asia- Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 13(1), 55-64.
  • Lucas, P. (2012). Critical reflection. What do we really mean? Australian Collaborative Education Network National Conference. Retrieved from
  • Lucas, P., Walker-Gibbs, B., & Hickey, C. (2014). Enhancing work-place based learning using reflective journals. Paper presented at the meeting of the WACE 10th International Symposium on Cooperative and Work-Integrated Education, Dalsland, Sweden.

Research active staff

Dr Jenny Fleming
Dr Patricia Lucas