Industrial Relations (IDRL) 496

Comparative Labour Education (Revision 2)

IDRL 496 Course cover

Temporarily closed, effective April 12, 2017.

View previous syllabus

Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Reading course - Applied Studies (Business and Administrative Studies). IDRL 496 can also be used to fulfill the Social Science area of study (credential students only).

Prerequisite: Permission of the course professor.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Human Resources & Labour Relations home page

IDRL 496 has a Challenge for Credit option.


Welcome to Industrial Relations 496: Comparative Labour Education, a three-credit university course that examines labour education in a global and comparative perspective.


Upon completion of IDRL 496, students should be able to

  • define labour education.
  • discuss the historical development of Canadian labour education.
  • delineate and explain the various educational traditions that influence labour educators.
  • discuss the relationship between labour education, union building, and union culture.
  • describe the current state of unions and learning in a variety of national contexts.
  • discuss the connections among the various themes in labour education that you encounter in the course.


To receive credit for Industrial Relations 496: Comparative Labour Education, you must complete three 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 20%
Assignment 2 30%
Assignment 3 50%
Total 100%

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

Course Materials


Martin, D. (1995). Thinking union: Activism and education in Canada's labour movement. Toronto: Between the Lines.

Newman, M. (1993). The third contract: Theory and practice in trade union training (2nd ed.). Sydney: Stewart Victor Publishing.

Spencer, B. (Ed.). (2002). Unions and learning in a global economy: International and comparative perspectives. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing, Inc.

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

Other materials

The course materials also include a student manual-study guide.

Challenge for Credit Overview

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

Full information about the 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 2, September 5, 2008.

View previous syllabus