Practical learning is where students partner with local businesses, associations, non-profits or municipalities to work on projects as part of their study. It is also known as "work-integrated learning" or WIL.

Instructor talking to students during fieldtrip
Global and Community Studies field trip to Porteau Cove led by instructor Roy Jantzen.

What practical learning means

At CapU, practical learning is students gaining experience in their fields, giving our community partners support with their projects, benefiting both the students and the community.

Practical learning can include:

  • Applied research projects;
  • Co-ops;
  • Practicums;
  • Field placements; and
  • Internships or industry placements.

Practical learning, work-integrated learning and experiential learning

In some schools, practical learning is known as "work-integrated learning" or "WIL." Students often talk about practical opportunities, whereas staff and sometimes employers refer to these same opportunities as "WIL."

If you're a member of the community, you'll talk to our WIL team about practical learning opportunities.

Practical learning and WIL make up part of experiential learning at CapU: learning by doing, inside and outside the classroom. Learn about Experiential Learning at CapU.

  • Co-operative education
  • Internships
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Service learning
  • Applied research projects
  • Mandatory professional practicum/clinical placement
  • Field placement
  • Work experience

Note: These elements are embedded in program or course design and include third party engagement, e.g. employer, industry or community partner.

  • Field experience
  • Interactive simulations
  • Teaching labs
  • Project-based coursework

Note: These elements are embedded in program or course design.

  • Observing a demonstration
  • Job shadowing
  • Student clubs
  • Athletics
  • Volunteer experiences
  • Summer or part-time jobs

Note: These items are all student driven, and may or may not be program related. They are not embedded in program or course design.

Work with Capilano University students

CapU is offering more practical learning opportunities in all faculties and departments. We're looking to add community partners who can provide a work opportunity for our students.

Our students get practical experience by working with you, and you get to work with well-prepared students keen to learn and give back.

What could this look like?

  • Give a class of students a design challenge, or a research problem to be solved;
  • Take on students for co-ops or internships;
  • Offer students work experience to get new ideas into your business; or
  • Take on students as volunteers for industry events.

If you're interested in working with students at CapU, either as a one-off or as part of a recurring project, contact wil@capilanou.ca

Photo of Harrison Smith looking at Maplewood Flats wetlands
Harrison Smith at the Maplewood Flats, where he worked on a collaborative research project with instructor Tom Flower the summer previously. Photo by Alia Youssef.
“CapU has a very positive learning environment. The small classes allow for one-on-one time with profs, and the laboratory and fieldwork opportunities are incredible.”
— Harrison Smith

Opportunities for students

With the practical learning opportunities offered at CapU, you'll gain experience in your field and build a portfolio to help you transition into a career after you graduate.

CapU is integrating practical learning opportunities into all program areas. Recently, students from our schools of Business and Legal Studies spent their practicums supporting local businesses.

Interested in getting involved, but not sure where to start? Contact wil@capilanou.ca

Capsule Stories

Visit Capsule Stories for student features about practical learning opportunities.

Mentoring for Success

Photo of Harrison Smith in nature

Student research opportunities are creating transformative, hands-on learning experiences.

Read story

Cycling toward a greener future

CapU student Grace Hardman riding her bike on the Stanley Park SeaWall

CapU student researching bike-friendly developments in Vancouver.

Read Story

Enhance your teaching with practical opportunities

If you're a faculty member looking to integrate work-integrated learning with your program or course, contact wil@capilanou.ca and we'll share faculty-specific resources.

Gay Walker, left, and CapU student Caitlin Lamb laugh while playing
Gay Walker, left, and CapU student Caitlin Lamb laugh while playing "Guess Who?" at the North Shore Neighbourhood House.


Have questions?

Work-Integrated Learning