Experience the World of Work

Experiential learning includes meaningful activities outside of the classroom through which students develop knowledge, skills, values, and perspective from direct experiences.  Deemed an important part of learning which compliments education in the classroom, experiential learning enables students to explore career interests, develop new skills, build their professional network, and gain important practical experience.  While experiences vary, experiential learning activities should be structured , supervised, and assessed activities which include the following:

* A structured learning experience which includes the opportubnty to gain "hands on" practical experience outside of the classroom.
* Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, and civically through interdisciplinary experience.
* Opportunities for observation, investigation, problem solving, and other means of academic inquiry.
* Opportunities to develop cultural awareness through work with others and exposure to workplace culture. 
* Opportunities for reflection, critical analysis, and application of learning experiences. 
Experiential learning can include any of the following experiences:

Internship An internship is a short-term employment experience which emphasizes on on-the-job training and development of practical skills.  Internships can be paid or unpaid, or, for-credit or non-credit. Students that have internship experience relevant to their desired profession are more desirable candidates to employers than those who have no internship experience or work experience unrelated to their field. Internships help students become viable, experienced job applicants when seeking employment after graduation. In fact, many employers consider internship experience in the hiring process, and often look to their own interns as the best potential candidates for full-time positions..

Cooperative Education (Co-Ops) Co-ops are a joint venture between the university, a selected employer, and the student. They are more extensive than internships and will usually span two or more semesters of work. Traditionally, co-ops are paid, full-time, paid positions through which students receive in-depth training and professional experience. 

Service-Learning Service learning is a process of involving students in community service activities combined with facilitated means for applying the experience to their academic coursework and personal development. Similar to internships and cooperative education, service-learning is student-centered, hands-on and directly applicable to curriculum. Service-learning experiences enable students to work on "real world" problems while simultaneously enhancing their social skills, analytical ability, civic and ethical responsibility, self-efficacy, and career development. 

Practicum A practicum is generally an intense, required work or service experience completed by a student as part of an academic class. Almost all are done for academic credit. Practicums are common for education, social work, and other majors which require certification. 

Capstone Projects Whether they’re called “senior capstones” or another name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project that integrates and applies what they’ve learned.  These integrated projects are intended to improve a student's understanding of course material through externally-based activities. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit of artwork.

Study Abroad Study abroad and cultural immersion allow students to experience the world, lending a global perspective and providing an opportunity for personal growth. Study abroad opportunities give students the opportunity to extend their classroom knowledge through immersion in off-campus settings where they have the opportunity to engage with another culture.

Research Although it is most prominently used in science disciplines, many colleges and universities are now providing research experiences for students in all disciplines. Students can serve as research assistants and collaborators on faculty projects, or can participate in research projects sponsored and funded by industry. 

Fellowships Fellowships typically involve advanced learning experiences which provide tuition support for training experiences. They are usually provided by educational institutions, corporations, or foundations as a means of assisting individuals in pursuit of research or professional experience.

The Best of Experiential Learning! | ChristiAnne's Blog