Singapore WSQ, Workplace Learning and Assessment: Stage 1

Note to HR Practitioners: 
Rethinking Learning at the Workplace 

Conducted from 2010 - 2011


Dr. Helen Bound, Senior Research Fellow [Read Bio]
Institute for Adult Learning

Magdalene Lin, Research Officer
Institute for Adult Learning


Whatʼs The Question?

To what extent is workplace learning and assessment integrated into WSQ courses and how is this understood and valued?


Why Is It Important?

Increasingly research and practical experience indicates that well-designed workplace learning and assessment can have greater impact on performance than classroom-based training.


How Did We Do The Research?

Interviews were conducted with 51 individuals, including representative of national industry bodies, policy advisors, training providers, workplace supervisors and trainees from 10 different WSQ frameworks. These interviews are to be followed up with workplace observation and analysis of training documents and materials in the second stage of the project.


What Did We Learn?

  • All stakeholders valued workplace learning, and saw an important place for this in WSQ programmes.
  • Although there are four ways in which training providers can incorporate workplace learning into WSQ training, analysis of available data indicates that the delivery of WSQ in 2009 was totally classroom based. While our experience indicated that in 2010 there is workplace learning taking place, the extent of workplace learning is very limited; this is in sharp contrast to the delivery of competency-based training in a number of other countries.
  • There are, however, a number of good examples of workplace learning arrangements and tools to optimize classroom-workplace relationships in the Community and Social Services and Food and Beverage WSQ frameworks.
  • Maximizing the value of classroom-based and workplace learning is complex and requires appropriate curriculum design and workplace support.


What Are The Implications?

  • It is essential to clarify what is most appropriately learnt in the classroom and in the workplace, and how this learning is related and assessed.
  • Given the value placed on workplace learning, there is a need to develop strategies to increase the amount of workplace-based learning and assessment to support improved performance.
  • Opportunities should be provided for sharing of leading practices in workplace learning and assessment within and between frameworks.
  • Design of standards, curricula and training methodologies need to support workplace learning and assessment arrangements.
  • Because the current funding model shapes current practice, both financial and non-financial arrangements for the provision of learning in the workplace for WSQ programmes should be explored to facilitate increased adoption of workplace learning.
  • For the purposes of monitoring and evaluation, there needs to be a clearer definition of workplace learning and better recording processes to provide an accurate picture of different modes of delivery including different forms of workplace-based WSQ training.

(For the second stage of this project, data collection has been done via (i) interviews with workers and observations conducted at four workplaces (a hotel kitchen, an aircraft maintenance company, a cafe, and a nursing home); (ii) discussions with their supervisors; and (iii) analysis of training and development documents. The aim of Stage Two is to recognise what is learned in the selected workplaces, identify ways in which learning is supported and constrained in the workplace, and propose models for recognising workplace learning through the WSQ framework. The final report for this project will be delivered by the third quarter of 2011.)

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