Student learning opportunities in traditional and computer-mediated internships

Bayerlein, Leopold and Jeske, Debora (2018) Student learning opportunities in traditional and computer-mediated internships. Education + Training, 60 (1). pp. 27-38. ISSN 0040-0912



The purpose of this paper is to provide a student learning outcome focussed assessment of the benefits and limitations of traditional internships, e-internships, and simulated internships to evaluate the potential of computer-mediated internships (CMIs) (e-internships and simulated internships) within higher education from a student perspective.

The paper undertakes a systematic conceptually based assessment of the extent to which CMIs are able to replicate the cognitive, skill-based and affective learning outcomes of traditional internships. In addition, the key limitations of traditional internships from a student perspective are identified, and the potential ability of CMIs to address these limitations is assessed.

The findings of this paper highlight that CMIs are able to replicate most of the benefits of traditional internships, whilst concurrently addressing many of their limitations. However, the current paper also identifies a number of important limitations for student learning in CMIs, and provides advice that aims to assist students in maximising their learning outcomes in these situations.

The paper is the first to provide a systematic student learning outcome focussed comparison of traditional internships and CMIs. In addition, the paper establishes the high potential of simulated internships for student learning in higher education, and provides students, higher education providers and researcher with learning outcome focussed criteria sets that enable the empirical evaluation of CMIs in future research.

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