What is it? Why would I use experiential learning?
Experiential learning (or experiential education) is a philosophy and methodology in which educators plan to engage learners purposefully in direct experience and focused reflection in order to
- increase knowledge,
- develop skills,
- clarify values, and
- apply prior learning.
In other words, experiential education is an instructor’s thoughtful organization of a specific, interactive learning experience for students.
The purpose of this experience is to create the conditions in which students, through engagement in the interactive tasks, can deepen their understanding of key course goals. In experiential education the ‘experience’ can be ‘hands on’ (ie. laboratory or field/community-based) or can be ‘thinking’ activities.
How could I use it?
While students may learn experientially in ways that happen naturally and serendipitously in their daily experiences; in contrast, experiential education (or experiential learning) is consciously and deliberately created to address specific course or program goals. At the University of Saskatchewan, we have identified key forms of experiential education that have been deliberately developed for students:
- Community Engaged Learning (including community service learning)
- Field-based Learning (including practica and internships)
- Undergraduate Research and Inquiry
- Experiential Learning in Labs
- Role-plays and Simulations
- Cross-cultural Learning
- Study Abroad
- Using Technology for Experiential Learning
How is it being used at the U of S?
Click here to see student interviews from the 2013 USSU Student Project Symposium.