Experiential learning is the process of developing knowledge and skills from direct experience - learning through action.
Based on the foundation of Dewey (1916) and Kolb's (1984) research, experiential models involve; engaging in active experience, reflecting on the experience in a purposeful way, developing generalizations from the experience, and testing implications of the generalizations in new social contexts.
High-Impact Practices (HIPs) typically include considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and other students, encourage collaboration with diverse others, and provide frequent and substantive feedback.
High-Impact Experiential Learning Activities:
- First Year Seminar
- Undergraduate Research
- Diversity / Global Learning (including study aboard)
- Service Learning
- Internships (including Practicum and Student Teaching)
Why Experiential Learning Matters
The impact of experiential learning reaches further than just within the timeframe of a student's academic career. According to the Gallup-Purdue Index Report, alumni who report back about whether their college experience was worth the cost say their experience was worth it despite high costs and low name recognition because they received "Big Six Experiences". These six experiences are: within support - One professor who made them excited about learning, Professors who cared about them as a person, A mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams; and within experiential - a project that took a semester or more to complete, an internship or job that allowed them to apply what was learned in the classroom, participated in extracurricular activities and organizations while attending college. These defining experiences are what our university strives to provide for our students.
Students gain course content knowledge and application or coursework to real world experience and expectations. EL increases self-esteem and enhances a sense of self-efficacy and empowerment.
What Employers Want to See
Nearly all of the employers taking part in the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) Job Outlook 2015 survey said they prefer to hire job candidates who have work experience. Relevant work experience is preferred by almost 75 percent of employers. On the other side, fewer than 5 percent of employers said experience didn't factor into their decision when hiring new college students. Six in 10 employers say they prefer work experience gained through an internship or co-op experience.