The systematic interlinking of theory and practice is one of the central features of dual or work-integrated degree programs. At the Institute for Dual Study Programs (IDS), several instruments are distinguished in order to establish this intensive interlinking. They all have the goal in common that students can develop professionally and personally through the synthesis of theoretical concepts, practical experience and the corresponding feedback. In addition, the direct integration of the learned contents in one's own workplace reinforces the learning success, as these can be tested in real life and thus better consolidated.
The students become aware of the differences between theory and practice and are able to transfer the course contents to diverse tasks in their company and open up new perspectives. The dovetailing of theory and practice is consequently an important lever for the individual competence and personnel development of the students. Since the companies also benefit from their work, the instruments also serve to promote organisational development in the company: the students can recognise strengths as well as weaknesses of current structures and processes and introduce new scientific findings in the company as approaches to solutions.
The examination form of the company case studies, in which the contents of the modules are related to the students' own company, supports this close interlocking. Conversely, the students' practical experience can be used to further develop existing theories and concepts and to help shape the course content.
In the dual Master's programme, the reflection-oriented transfer study (RTS) was established as an instrument for linking theory and practice and as a central form of examination. This is prepared for each module during an approximately eight-week work phase in the company. The results are then discussed with teachers and fellow students in terms of subject matter and methodology. The latter also have expertise in the areas discussed due to their practical and learning experience, so that there is a valuable exchange and networking among the students for all sides. This creates a student advisory network that can also be active beyond the study programme.
If possible, the RTS should have a direct connection to the respective company of the students, who can choose the corresponding topic themselves. In this way, the RTS guarantees a high learning effect through the intensive consideration of work-relevant topics in connection with the previously developed study content. In addition, in many cases the RTS results can be applied directly in one's own company, which on the one hand proves the high relevance and practical relevance of this form of examination and on the other hand makes work easier, since study and work act together instead of just side by side.
The assessment of this examination instrument in the student evaluations is mostly very positive. Both the systematic support of competence development and the compatibility of study and work are praised by the students as well as by their cooperation companies. Since data protection is also a relevant factor for the latter, this aspect is also attributed particular importance at the IDS. Information on this can be obtained from the Office for Student and Company Support.