Experiential Educator Feature
What does experiential learning mean to you?
Students get out of the classroom to learn from some sort of meaningful activity. These real-life, working learning opportunities are ultimately what sets students apart in the competitive job market and allows them to succeed in whatever they set their minds to.
Why do you use experiential learning?
It puts theory into action. Students can more fully participate in the learning process rather than observing what the professor is saying or showing them. Not only does experiential learning better engage students, but also exposes them to new industries and professions. After the project is complete, students may discover their true calling, or discuss it during interviews.
How do your students benefit from experiential learning?
They fully participate in learning, unlike the traditional 20th century lecture class, which involves the professor being “a sage on the stage” imparting his or her knowledge to the students. From student feedback I have learned that students feel more engaged with hands-on REAL learning!
What advice do you have for faculty and institutions considering experiential learning?
Like the Nike commercial, I would say, “Just Do it!” You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Don’t worry about whether it works perfectly the first few times you try it. You will learn how to do it and your students will benefit from their experiences by exploring outside out of the classroom.
What skills do your students use when engaged in experiential learning?
My students must be incredibly organized to get the work done in a 14-week semester. Critical thinking skills are also used to identify alternative courses of action, select among those alternatives, and justify that the students’ choice was the best available to the small business owner. Students must coordinate all of the communication with the business owner, who may have a very different schedule. By flipping the classroom in this way, I am encouraging students to take charge of their academic and professional journey, while equipping them with the skills to succeed in the 21st century workplace.