Experiential Educator Feature
What does experiential learning mean to you?
Experiential learning for me means providing students opportunities to not just analyze what has been done in the past, but actually experience some of the challenges people face when they start working in the real-world. It is always easy to be a critic and ask why someone made a certain decision, but being able to be actually experience the work and challenges people face in real-life adds a perspective that is genuinely useful for students from many different backgrounds.
Why is experiential learning a priority for you?
It allows students to not just experience what real-world work is like, but analyze what they did, why they did it, and think more about what they can do differently if given a similar work project. The opportunity to actually do this kind of work before graduation as part of their learning is very powerful, and should be a part of any university experience.
What's the most challenging part of being an #ExperientialEducator? (coordinating/delivering an experiential learning curriculum to students)
Always trying to stay up to date and ensuring that the experiential learning activities very much represent the working reality students will be facing upon graduation.
What skills do your students use when engaged in experiential learning?
In addition to creativity, students learn gained practical skills in persuasive communication, public speaking, and negotiation.
What advice do you have for faculty and institutions considering experiential learning?
As someone who started doing experiential learning without that much experience with it, I can safely say that it’s a risk well worth taking if you haven’t done it before. Even simulations that don’t quite work as well as you expect can be improved with some careful reflection and a few refinements. Academic journals are great resources to learn best practices, and developing industry connections certainly makes the process easier! There is no need for fancy simulation technology or extensive training, but rather take advantage of current events for your scenarios and integrate those concepts into the classroom. Without being too strict in your approach, let the students explore different answers and develop their outcomes.