Virtual Internships: Connecting Students and Companies
Virtual internships involve adapting the traditional onsite internship model for the contemporary virtual world. COVID-19’s impacts have proven that leveraging innovative digital technologies – like Practera’s – allows educators, companies and students to continue their activities in a disrupted world. In fact, it has highlighted the many benefits of moving online – such as enhanced flexibility and cost and time savings.
What Is a Virtual Internship?
Virtual internship programs offer students and new graduates the opportunity to gain real-world, remote work experience with a company in their field, under the supervision of a professional mentor. Virtual interns work on authentic projects assigned by the organisation or company hosting them.
Each internship involves tailored projects designed to enhance student skill development and employability, while also supporting a range of organisational goals – such as growth and innovation, identifying export opportunities, developing sustainable practices, and finding new funding sources.
Virtual internships are sometimes also known as remote internships or online internships. They are available across a huge variety of fields and industries, such as marketing, business, accounting, and international relations.
Who Can Apply For A Virtual Internship?
Any student can talk to their university about conducting a virtual internship. Some universities have a policy designed to promote equal opportunity access, allowing any student to participate in company projects and gain career-boosting skills and experience – irrespective of their age, faculty, degree program or location.
To ensure a virtual internship supports academic learning, it needs to be directly related to a student’s educational course.
Can Any Business Accept Virtual Interns?
The short answer is yes – any company or organisation can host students on virtual internships. The business needs to offer students a safe learning environment and the opportunity to work on a project where they can apply their academic knowledge to an authentic work scenario.
Learn more on the benefits of gaining real-world experience in our ‘Effective Experiential Learning’ whitepaper
This typically involves working on a solution to a genuine challenge or situation the business is facing – such as how to implement an effective social media strategy or find new ways to reduce their environmental footprint. The business will also need to provide a professional mentor to give students guidance and feedback.
How Can My Business Establish A Virtual Internship Program?
Establishing a virtual internship program may sound like another task to add to an already overloaded schedule. But with Practera’s help, the process is fast and easy. We’ll work alongside you to engage a team of talented students to explore opportunities in the marketplace and solve key challenges for your business or organisation.
Here’s how it works:
- You choose a suitable project type from our list (or talk to us about what would work best for your business).
- Submit a project brief (this only takes 5-10 minutes to complete).
- We’ll assign a team of students to undertake your project.
- You review students’ work and provide online feedback (this takes approximately 60min/week over 2-3 weeks).
- You receive a market research report with recommendations.
Practera currently have a global network of over 2000 corporate, community and government partners providing learners with authentic work experiences.
You can learn more or submit a project here.
The Benefits of Virtual Internships
When conducted well, virtual internships have benefits for everyone involved.
- Get to apply their academic learning to a real-world work situation
- Gain career-related and transferable skills and confidence
- Get to connect with potential future employers and professional peers
- Boost their employability by adding relevant work experience to their resume
- Gain insight into current challenges and opportunities in their field
- Benefit from mentoring by a qualified professional
- Have greater flexibility to conduct an internship around their schedule
- Save time and money commuting to a workplace.
- Enhance student learning through real world experiences
- Differentiate your institution from your competitors
- Attract and retain students
- Add variety to your suite of pedagogical strategies
- Build mutually beneficial networks with industry, government and community partners.
- Gain access to teams of keen and talented students
- Upskill and reskill staff by providing mentoring experience
- Identify graduate talent, saving time and money on hiring
- Get innovative solutions for key challenges
- Save time and money on market research
- Discover insights to help with planning and decision-making
- Stay current with industry knowledge and trends
- Build helpful networks with universities.
University Involvement in Placing Students for Virtual Internships
For universities, finding student placements can be a huge drain on time and resources. With our global network of more than 2000 corporate, community and government partners, Practera makes it easy to provide learners with authentic work experiences such as virtual internships. We can help universities grow a healthy reputation and boost industry engagement while increasing scale and reducing delivery costs.
How Can Practera Help with Virtual Internships?
Working with Practera can allow organisations or institutions to set up virtual internships quickly and efficiently. Our innovative platform facilitates provision of a range of fully supported program types, across different durations and levels. Digitally enabled and scalable to thousands of learners, they provide authentic industry experience, feedback and connections for students.
The success of your virtual internship program is assured with our ingenious platform. Featuring robust pedagogical design, it allows seamless learning delivery with engaging apps, feedback loops and artificial intelligence (AI) powered analytics.
Easily design custom virtual internships
A key feature of Practera’s platform is the ability to custom design programs. With Practera, you can author any type of experiential learning – including virtual internships – on the one intuitive and easy to use platform. To streamline the process, our system will guide you by asking the most important questions, enabling you to create powerful learning experiences tailored to both students and industry or community partners.
To make things even easier, you can start creating experiences with just a few clicks using our template library. Simply browse the learning library, pick the right experience type, then choose one of our high-quality templates – all created by expert learning designers – to get started.
Engaging interface with research-backed design
Practera’s platform features an elegant, intuitive mobile-first interface that supports gamification and personalisation – thereby elevating learning engagement and outcomes. Closely aligned with Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle, it is designed to utilise experiential learning loops associated with real world activity. Learners and industry partners are engaged in personalised, engaging workflows with structured content that supports application of theory to practice, feedback and reflection loops.
Practera’s superpower is its ability to provide timely, relevant feedback using integrated support tools. Students give and receive personalised feedback from their mentors, peers and educators at key points to drive critical reflection, thereby deepening learning and improving performance.
World-leading AI technology
Another key feature is our world-first artificial intelligence assistant designed specifically for experiential learning. Practera’s ELSA (Experiential Learning Support Assistant) monitors experiences 24/7 to provide real-time suggestions based on evidence from experiential learning science and practice. ELSA saves educators time and helps deliver better outcomes for students.
High-tech analytics facilitate program monitoring and quality assurance reviews. Real-time data dashboards identify the critical issues for experiential learning, enabling you to see any issues at a glance and respond before small problems escalate into bigger ones.
And if you need any help with designing a virtual internship for your company or institution, Practera’s responsive team are available at firstname.lastname@example.org.