Industrial Relations (IDRL) 496

Comparative Labour Education (Revision 3)

IDRL 496 Course cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Sciences

Prerequisite: None.

Precluded: IDRL 496 cannot be taken for credit if credit has been obtained for Athabasca University’s MAIS 650.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Resources & Labour Relations home page

IDRL 496 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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IDRL 496: Comparative Labour Education is about learning in, and for, the labour movement. It showcases the efforts that unions and other organizations have made to educate workers about their role in society and about the opportunities they have had to improve their working conditions and lives through collective action throughout the 20th century. It further shows that learning about labour actually starts in the workplace and how this on-the-job learning impacts educational activities organized by the labour movement. Eventually, it deals with the question of what labour educators can learn from the educational activities undertaken by other social movements, such as feminism and civil rights movements. Related to this is the question of what labour educators can learn from fellow educators in other countries. The course also allows you to move beyond learning about labour and to design the labour educational you always wanted to see but could never find.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of IDRL 496, students should be able to

  • define labour education and explain how it is different from other forms of education,
  • outline the history of labour education in Canada and its relations to changing socioeconomic and political contexts,
  • use different theories to understand how workers learn in the workplace and how this learning might be advanced by labour education,
  • understand what labour educators might learn from the educational activities in other social movements, and
  • design your own labour educational.


To receive credit for Industrial Relations 496: Comparative Labour Education, you must complete five written assignments and achieve a minimum grade of D (50 percent) on each assignment. The weighting of the composite course grade is as follows:

Assignment 1 10%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 25%
Assignment 4 35%
Assignment 5 10%
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Choudry, A. (2015). Learning activism: The intellectual life of contemporary social movements. University of Toronto Press.

Taylor, J. (2001). Union learning: Canadian labour education in the twentieth century. Thompson Educational Publishing.

Worthen, H. (2014). What did you learn at work today? The forbidden lessons of labor education. Hard Ball Press.

Other materials

All other materials, including a Course Information and a Study Guide, are available online through the course home page.

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the IDRL 496 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 3, November 16, 2020.

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