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Experiential learning (EL) can be defined in many different ways and comes in many forms. A broad definition can be taken from the Experiential Learning Initiative:

Experiential learning opportunities offer students assignments and activities based on real-life situations or primary research that engages them in reflective problem-solving with multiple potential avenues of inquiry.

Experiential learning opportunities will contain all of the following components thoughtfully prepared and facilitated by the instructor:

Experience: Students have an opportunity to do something other than listen and take notes, such as solve an authentic real-world problem, carry out an experiment etc.

Reflection: Students reflect on the experience so that they can learn about the process of what happened and why it happened during the experience. Students learn that failure is common, think about the challenges they faced, and methods of improvement.

Application of knowledge: Students apply what they have learned through their experiences and reflection to novel scenarios or problems.

Product: Students create or develop something that is of value to someone other than only the instructor (outside audience). This could be a poster presentation, a video, a physical product, a paper etc.

Autonomy: Students are given the opportunity to direct their own learning by choosing problems that align with their own interests, designing their own experiments etc.

Use the following tabs to learn more about EL, and help you think about how you might bring more EL practices into your classes.