What is WIL?

What is Work-Integrated Learning?

Work-integrated learning is a model and process of curricular experiential education which formally and intentionally integrates a student’s academic studies within a workplace or practice setting.

WIL experiences include an engaged partnership of at least: an academic institution, a host organization, and a student. WIL can occur at the course or program level and includes the development of learning outcomes related to employability, personal agency, and life-long learning.

Source: CEWIL Canada



Applied Research Projects

Students are engaged in research that occurs primarily in workplaces, includes: consulting projects, design projects, community-based research projects.


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 combines about 80% at-the-workplace experience with 20% technical classroom training, and depending on the trade, takes about 2-5 years to complete. Both the workplace experience and the technical training are essential components of the learning experience.

Co-operative Education

Co-operative Education consists of alternating academic terms and paid work terms. Co-op internship consists of several co-op work terms back-to-back. In both models, work terms provide experience in a workplace setting related to the student’s field of study. The number of required work terms varies by program; however, the time spent in work terms must be at least 30% of the time spent in academic study for programs over 2 years in length and 25% of time for programs 2 years and shorter in length.


Entrepreneurship allows a student to leverage resources, space, mentorship and/or funding to engage in the early-stage development of business start-ups and/or to advance external ideas that address real-world needs for academic credit.

Field Placement

Provides students with an intensive part-time/short term intensive hands-on practical experience in a setting relevant to their subject of study. Field placements may not require supervision of a registered or licensed professional and the completed work experience hours are not required for professional certification. Field placements account for work-integrated educational experiences not encompassed by other forms, such as co-op, clinic, practicum, and internship.


Offers usually one discipline specific (typically full-time), supervised, structured, paid or unpaid, for academic credit or practice placement. Internships may occur in the middle of an academic program or after all academic coursework has been completed and prior to graduation. Internships can be of any length but are typically 12 to 16 months long.

Mandatory Professional Practicum/Clinical Placement

Involves 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. Practica are generally unpaid and, as the work is done in a supervised setting, typically students do not have their own workload/caseload.

Service Learning

Community Service Learning (CSL) integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and critical reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen communities. In practice, students work in partnership with a community based organization to apply their disciplinary knowledge to a challenge identified by the community.

Work Experience

Work Experience intersperses one or two work terms (typically full-time) into an academic program, providing experience in a workplace setting related to the student’s field of study and/or career goals.

“We’ve employed five different Co-op students and each has made a valuable contribution. In fact, our experience with Co-op has been so successful that we’ve permanently hired two of our students for very responsible positions.”

– CFB Chilliwack

What is Co-op?

As one form of Work-Integrated Learning, Co-operative Education is a program which alternates periods of academic study with periods of work experience in relevant fields of business, industry, government, social services and more.



Learning Opportunity

Each work situation is developed and/or approved by the Co-operative Education program as suitable


The Co-op student is engaged in productive work rather than merely observing or job-shadowing


The Co-op student receives remuneration for the work performed


The Co-op student's progress on the job is monitored by their Co-operative Education programs


The student's work performance is supervised and evaluated by the student's employer


Students alternate work terms with academic terms, allowing them to bring real-world experience into the classroom