Experiential Learning

Service Learning, Fieldwork, Collaborative Research

Experiential Learning refers to a broad spectrum of educational experiences, such as study abroad programs, community service, fieldwork, sensitivity training groups, workshops, internships, cooperative education involving work in business or industry, and undergraduate participation in faculty research. Whether such learning is educational depends on the degree to which the learning is transferable to other times and places. Cognitive and motivational theory point to the likely value of discovering and applying principles and concepts.

The goals of experiential learning are both cognitive and motivational: experiences in the field or laboratory will stir up questions in students' minds that will lead to active learning. Student’s reports of their experiences give students something to talk about in class discussion. More importantly, actual experience can link learning, thinking and doing: field experiences will not only motivate students to learn current course materials but also increase their intrinsic interest in further learning. Empirical research (Brandell and Hinck 1997) provides evidence of greater ability to apply course concepts to new situations and greater improvement in social responsibility and personal efficacy.

For information about Experiential Learning as an instructional methodology, see:

For information about Service Learning as an instructional methodology, see:

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