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Types of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning can come in many different forms, and can occur both in and outside the classroom. Types of experiential learning that students may be exposed to through Experience Learning include:

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships provide students an opportunity to try out a job, usually with an experienced professional in the field to act as a mentor.

Clinical experiences

Clinical experiences provide hands-on experiences of a predetermined duration directly tied to an area of study, such as nursing students participating in a hospital-based experience or child development and teacher education students participating in day care and classroom settings.

Fellowships

Provide tuition or aid to support the training of students for a period of time. They are usually made by educational institutions, corporations, or foundations to assist individuals pursuing a course of study or research.

Field work

Field work allows students to explore and apply content learned in the classroom in a specified field experience away from the classroom. Field work experiences bridge educational experiences with an outside community that can range from neighborhoods and schools to anthropological dig sites and laboratory settings.

Internships

Internships provide students with an opportunity to test the waters in a career field and also gain some valuable work experience. Internships can be for credit, not for credit, paid, or unpaid.

Practicums

Practicums often a required component of a course of study and place students in a supervised and often paid situation. Students develop competencies and apply previously studied theory and content, such as school library media students working in a high school library or marketing majors working in a marketing research firm.

Service learning

Service learning is distinguished by being mutually beneficial for both student and community. Service-learning is growing rapidly and is considered a part of experiential education by its very nature of learning, performing a job within the community, and serious reflection by the student. Service-learning involves tackling some of society’s complex issues such as homelessness, poverty, lack of quality education, pollution, etc.

Simulations and gaming/role-playing

When used as part of a course, simulations and gaming/role-playing aim to imitate a system, entity, phenomenon, or process. They attempt to represent or predict aspects of the behavior of the problem or issue being studied. Simulation can allow experiments to be conducted within a fictitious situation to show the real behaviors and outcomes of possible conditions.

Student teaching

Student teaching provides candidates with an opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills they have been developing in the preparation program. Student teaching typically involves an on-site experience in a partner school and opportunities for formal and informal candidate reflection on their teaching experience.

Study abroad

Study abroad offer students a unique opportunity to learn in another culture, within the security of a host family and a host institution carefully chosen to allow the transfer of credit to a student’s degree program.

Undergraduate research

Undergraduate research is increasingly common at universities across all disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

Volunteering

Volunteering allows students to serve in a community primarily because they choose to do so. Many serve through a nonprofit organization—sometimes referred to as formal volunteering—but a significant number also serve less formally, either individually or as part of a group.

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