Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) 645

Understanding Work and Learning (Revision 3)

MAIS 645

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Delivery Mode: Grouped study

Credits: 3

Prerequisite: Priority will go to students who have successfully completed MAIS 601 and MAIS 602.

Precluded Course: MAIS 645 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for Athabasca University's HRMT 406 or EDUC 406.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Program: Master of Arts Interdisciplinary Studies

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**Note: Students in Group Study courses are advised that this syllabus may vary in key details in each instance of the course. Always refer to the Moodle site for the most up-to-date details on texts, assignment structure, and grading.**


This course allows students to critically examine the new enthusiasm for “workplace learning” and “learning organizations,” and it examines the relationship between education and work. The course is divided into eight units, drawing from the textbooks and online readings as well as a number of online viewing assignments.

  1. Unit 1: Understanding the Human Resource Management/Corporate Connection
  2. Unit 2: Organizational Culture and Organizational Learning
  3. Unit 3: The Learning Organization
  4. Unit 4: Workers’ and Unions’ Learning
  5. Unit 5: From School to Work…
  6. Unit 6: …And Workplace Learning to School
  7. Unit 7: Transitions, Gender, and Difference: Training and Skills
  8. Unit 8: The Challenge of Democratizing Work and Learning in a Global Economy

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • appreciate, and understand, the interconnections between the dynamically changing workplace of the 21st century, the pressure that creates for life-long learning, and relevant theories of education.
  • mobilize students’ experience in both the working world and in the classroom, integrate that experience with the course content, and help create a guide for workplace and educational challenges in the contemporary workforce.
  • examine dominant theories of adult learning, and articulate the relationship of those theories to the challenges of the contemporary social context, including an appreciation of unacknowledged learning and its relationship to “credentialized” learning.
  • develop the ability to analyze the context of the changing dynamics of the contemporary workplace, mobilize evidence to outline the skill and educational needs created by these dynamics, and formulate pathways to relevant life-long learning in response.

Student Evaluation

To receive credit for this course, students must participate in the online activities, successfully complete the assignments, and achieve a final mark of at least 60 per cent. Students should be familiar with the Master of Arts—Interdisciplinary Studies grading system. Please note that it is students' responsibility to maintain their program status. Any student who receives a grade of "F" in one course, or a grade of "C" in more than one course, may be required to withdraw from the program.

The following table summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weights associated with them.

Activity Weighting
Online Participation 10%
Presentation 25%
Book Review 25%
Term Paper 40%
Total 100%

Course Materials

The course materials for Master of Arts-Interdisciplinary Studies 645 include the items listed below.


  • Spencer, B., & Kelly, J. (2013). Work and learning: An introduction. Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.
  • Sawchuk, P., & Taylor, A. (Eds.). (2010). Challenging transitions in learning and work: Reflections on policy and practice. Rotterdam, NL: Sense Publishers.

Athabasca University Online Materials

Course Home Page You will find Course Information (including the Assignment File and other pertinent information) at the top of the course home page. You will also find your Study Guide presented unit by unit online. You will find your assignments and links to submit your work to your professor on the course home page.

Athabasca University Library: Students are encouraged to browse the Library's Web site to review the Library collection of journal databases, electronic journals, and digital reference tools:

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, September 1, 2014.