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:
- Keaton Morris (with associates) (1976). Experiential Learning: Rationale, Characteristics, and Assessment. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. A classic book in this area.
- McKeachie, W. (2002). Facilitating Experiential Learning Service Learning, Fieldwork, Collaborative Research, pp. 245-249 in Teaching Tips, Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Association for Experiential Education
- Experiential Learning in Higher Education: Linking Classroom and Community, by Jeffrey A. Cantor
- Websites on Experiential Learning
- Experiential Learning (C. Rogers)
- David A. Kolb on experiential learning
- Experiential Learning articles and critiques of David Kolb's theory
For information about Service Learning as an instructional methodology, see:
- Brandell, M. & S. Hinck, S. (1997). Service Learning: Connecting Citizenship with the Classroom. NASSP Bulletin, 81, 49-56.
- American Association for Higher Education (AAHE). An 18-volume series on service learning in each discipline: Zlotkowski. E. (1997-1998). AAHE’s Series on Service Learning in the Disciplines. Washington, DC: AAHE.
- Academic Service Learning: A Pedagogy of Action and Reflection, [Special Issue], New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1998, Vol. 73, edited by R. A. Rhoads and J. P. F. Howard.
- National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
- Service Learning links, Colorado
- USC Joint Educational Project