Beyond Classroom Borders: Linking Learning and Work Through Career-Relevant Instruction

This report explores an approach for enhancing career-relevant learning in the classroom. 

Steven C. Taylor
Catherine Haras
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
Center for Effective Teaching and Learning
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages
Target Audience

This white paper offers an exploratory approach for enhancing career-relevant learning in the higher education classroom. The resource focuses on the instructor's role to better understand and align with industry and employer standards and needs.  It also focuses on supporting students to build skills and knowledge so that they may be successful beyond the classroom. The authors draw on research and evidence-based teaching, best practices, motivation, and career exploration and planning, to inform this report.  They address topics such as:  adaptability, authentic work opportunities, career relevant work experiences, creating a culture of  career-relevant teaching.  They also include an exemplary program spotlight and suggested techniques to make instruction more career relevant.  The report concludes with implications for instructional practices and research.


What the experts say

Adult education is wrestling with its role in workforce development. This article reveals a similar conversation happening in higher education between factions supporting liberal arts education as opposed to career technical education. The authors use research to make a strong argument for career-relevant educational strategies to be infused throughout higher education in order to build skills, 'habits of mind and social abilities' needed by all of us in the evolving world of work.

The emphasis on career-relevant contextualizing and application of learning underscores the importance of student adaptability in current and future work and learning. A mental shift is necessary for instructors to engage students in deeper conversation about how specific knowledge, skills and attitudes connect to future work and learning. Adult educators should be mindful that the content requires massaging and, in some cases, reimagining to ensure its value-add to adult education instruction and instructional strategies.

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