University of Tasmania

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Measuring and enhancing the quality of students’ professional learning experiences: Development and trial of a Professional Experience Placement (PEP) survey instrument

conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-24, 14:38 authored by Cassandra SaundersCassandra Saunders, Annette MarlowAnnette Marlow

Professional learning experiences are a core component of many undergraduate degrees, providing students with ‘real life’ practice and work-integrated learning that influences their professional development and attitudes. The increasing significance of the nature and quality of student professional learning experiences has been highlighted in the recently revised Higher Education Standards Framework (expected to be fully implemented in early 2016), which maintains the need for providers to ‘quality assure work-integrated learning’. Despite this, there is currently no mechanism to assess students’ experiences of their learning during their professional experience placement (PEP) consistently and systematically across the higher education (HE) sector. Little is known about the extent to which students’ actively engage, and take responsibility for, their own learning while on PEP. The purpose of this study was to develop and trial an explicit, albeit generic, online survey instrument that can be utilised across disciplines to: a) measure students’ perceptions of their learning while on placement including, preparation prior to commencing PEP, engagement with active learning while on PEP and opportunities to develop generic graduate attributes, and; b) enhance and improve the overall PEP learning experience. The PEP survey has been trialled across 9 Faculty of Health units at the University of Tasmania that incorporate PEP into their curriculum. Initial findings highlight the importance of a supportive PEP environment in fostering students’ learning. Students reported a more positive learning experience when the staff were actively engaged in their learning, were available to ask and answer questions, encouraged independent learning and provided opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge.

The PEP survey instrument provides a practical method of evaluating students’ perceptions of the quality of their PEP learning experience and how they take responsibility for their own learning while on placement, and represents an important element within quality assurance procedures across the HE sector.


Australian Collaborative Education Network



DVC - Education

Event title

AAIR 2015

Event Venue

Wellington, New Zealand

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Date of Event (End Date)


Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum

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