We have seen that there are many reasons why work-based learning is important, but what is the nature of work-based learning? What can be learnt and how is it learnt? What theories does it draw upon? The main area of learning is concerned with experiencing day-to-day
life within a professional context. The relationship between a learner and a teacher, youth worker or other professional is complex, and this complexity can never be fully communicated or understood from an outside perspective. We need to experience the world of work in order to fully understand it. A characteristic of all educational activity, wherever it takes place, is that it is unpredictable. No two days are ever the same and that is both a rewarding experience and a challenge for those that work in the sector. Gaining first-hand experience of this is invaluable in its own right but it also provides an opportunity to develop our own professional identity, of being able to acknowledge, and have acknowledged by those in the placement, your emerging professional skills and knowledge. The skills of educators have been developed over a long period of time and consequentially their expertise becomes ‘second nature’ to them. Work-based learning provides an opportunity to observe and participate in activities in which theory and practice are combined, this is often described as an experiential form of learning.