The WBLP is structured to provide an opportunity for feedback from supervisors to participants, and for participants and supervisors to take time for reflection, problem solving and goal setting. The structure of the WBLP is ideal for these conversations because it is structured around professional career skills, focusing attention on the skills that are important in your organization and in the participant’s future career path.
A first (baseline) review should be held early in the work-based learning experience, and a final review near the end of the work experience. For longer-term work experiences, there may be additional reviews at regular intervals.
Evaluation ratings are based on a 5-point scale, illustrating how life-long learning and skill development occurs over time, with typical ratings for a new intern or entry-level employee in the range of 2's and 3's and with 4's and 5's reserved for high levels of initiative, learning and performance.
1=Performance Improvement Needed: Needs to have a strategy to improve this skill
2=Developing: Developing this skill; learning to address challenges related to this skill; aware of next steps needed to develop this skill
3=Competent: Demonstrates this skill; aware of the importance of this skill
4=Proficient: Consistently demonstrates this skill; shows initiative to learn about, enhance or apply this skill
5=Advanced: Exceeds expectations; works with high level of independence, acts as a role model, or shows initiative to apply and extend this skill
Suggestions for giving feedback:
• USE THE COMMENT SPACE on the WBLP to briefly note any specifics about accomplishments, challenges, next steps or other feedback or reflection.
• Think of the initial review meeting as an opportunity to open up conversation, both about addressing problems or challenges and about setting goals for the work experience.
• Ask questions to help the participant think about performance, strengths, and areas for improvement.
• When discussing problems or challenges that have arisen, ask questions to help the participant think about solutions. If the participant is not meeting expectations, briefly explain your workplace’s expectations and point out the reasons for the expectations. If applicable, you might describe ways that you or other co-workers or staff have solved a similar problem or approached a similar situation. Suggest simple strategies, using “I” statements or “you might try” rather than “you should” or “you shouldn’t.”
• Include positive feedback about areas of strength. Be specific in positive feedback, specifically describing ways that the participant has shown initiative, developed and applied and extended the skills in the Work-Based Learning Plan.
• Ask questions about the future – is there anything the participant would like to learn about or projects to explore?
• Ask questions to encourage the participant to reflect on the work done so far. One of the benefits of the Work-Based Learning Plan is the opportunity for participants to be able to reflect on the skills they are learning and to be able to talk about their experiences and skills. Participants will draw from this experience in the future as they work on job applications, college applications and interviews.
· For the final review meeting, offer a clear assessment of any skill gains achieved, as reflected in improved ratings.
· If the participant has struggled in any skill area, offer constructive suggestions for continued improvement, and help the participant understand the importance to an employer of the skill(s) in question
DISCUSSION AND REFLECTION QUESTIONS for Participants:
Many internships are paired with classroom instruction or small group workshops. Interns often keep a journal of their experiences or have small group discussions about workplace experiences. A bank of reflection questions supports reflection on the WBLP skills.
FOR EACH OF THE SKILLS ON THE WBLP:
· Can you describe work projects or daily tasks you have done using this skill in this workplace? If you were interviewing for a future job, what would you say about how you used this skill in this work experience?
· Have you gained knowledge about how this skill is used in this career area? If you were interviewing for a future job, could you describe projects, tools, software or techniques that show that you are knowledgeable about how this skills is used?
· Can you describe accomplishments (such as projects, customer service, daily work completed) that you have completed using this skill? Can you describe how these accomplishments contributed to advancing the work of the organization?
· Have there been any challenges related to this skill area? Can you describe next steps for addressing challenges and/or further developing this skill?
· Have you observed your skills improving during the experience?
SAMPLE QUESTIONS ABOUT SPECIFIC WBLP SKILLS:
Customer Service: Can you describe who the customers are in your workplace (such as shoppers in a store, visitors to a park, co-workers in an office)? Can you describe an instance where you helped a customer or co-worker with a challenging question or situation? Can you describe an instance in which a customer or co-worker seemed happy with the assistance you provided?
Engineering Concepts: Can you describe the design process used by engineers in your workplace? Can you describe your role in supporting and participating in engineering projects?
Health Literacy: Can you describe personal or community health issues that are important to your organization or its customers?
Landscaping: Can you describe your role in maintaining and improving the landscaping at your worksite? Can you describe some of the positive results of your work? Can you describe the features that help to make the outdoor spaces at your worksite attractive and functional?
Leadership: Can you describe an instance where people or projects were successful, at least in part because of the leadership support you provided? Can you describe your leadership style?
Photo Editing: Can you describe how you used digital photos in this work experience? Can you describe the software and methods you use to organize and edit digital photos?
Project Management: Can you describe the methods you used in this work experience to manage your projects? Did your projects proceed step-by-step and finish within the time allowed?
Research and Analysis: Can you describe research you have done in this work experience? How will the information you gather be used? What have you learned so far in your research?
Teaching and Instructing: Can you describe an instance where you taught information, concepts or skills to others in this work experience? What did you do? How did you know the instruction was effective?
Time Management: Can you describe your approach to time management? How did your time management skills help you to be more productive in this work experience?
Understanding All Aspects of the Industry: Can you describe opportunities that you have had so far to learn about the different aspects of this industry? Can you describe ways that you could gain additional experience in this industry?
Writing: Can you describe the topic, style and audience for one of writing assignments you had in this work experience? Can you describe how you have worked with others to gather information, write, edit and format written materials?