Peter Wiltshier and Sarah Rawlinson
Over the past decade the University of Derby has invested in learning, teaching and assessment using experiential or work-based learning. Moreover, we have created a specific tool to identify, implement and review work-based learning, which we call a learning laboratory. Within a university learning laboratory (ULL) stakeholders develop shared teaching and learning projects that meet the core needs of skills and knowledge development for our students. There is a strong correlation between student achievement, partners’ satisfaction with tasks achieved through the work-based learning and prospects for research, consultancy and graduate student recruitment. In this chapter we explore the literature that relates to success in outcomes from work-based learning and examine the practical steps needed to establish learning laboratories. We conclude with a review of accomplishments from learning labs and address possible barriers to be overcome in future. Our approach is social constructivist in nature. We reflect on constructs that we used to explore opportunities to bring higher education learning closer to contemporary practices in work in tourism management. Special attention is paid to the stages of developing learning laboratories and critical evaluation of the process and outcome.