Theories of experiential learning can help to guide educators and mentors in the design, delivery, and assessment of student learning through structured experience. Knowledge of educational theories that touch upon the processes of learning through experience, in combination with an educator’s understanding of the nature of disciplinary or vocational theories and practices, can help to inform the creation of transformative experiential learning opportunities.

This module has been designed for Faculty and Academic Leaders.

What can theories of learning teach us about how to construct effective EL?

Examples and Artifacts

table Theories of learning
This table compares Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism.

External Links

video Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism
Theories of experiential learning can be roughly considered with reference to three major philosophies of education: behaviourist, cognitive and constructivist. This video from Carleton University provides a brief overview of these major philosophies.

What do I need to know about theories of how students learn by doing?

Examples and Artifacts

research Quick and dirty reference guide to theorists
Use this presentation as a reference guide to theorists of experiential learning.

External Resources

link Curricular Community Engaged Learning
This website from Western University features practical guidance and information for faculty.

link Faculty Guidebook on Experiential Education
This website from Brock University is a helpful resource for EL developments.

How can I align EL in my course to the program and institutional priorities?

Examples and Artifacts

table Integrating experiential learning
Efforts to integrate an experiential learning opportunity into students’ experience of their program of study can also benefit from a consideration of the courses that typically bookend the EL opportunity. This table presents some curriculum design considerations.

External Links

link Experiential Learning
Georgian College’s Centre for Teaching and Learning provides helpful information for faculty members seeking to develop EL courses.

link Experiential Learning Hub
This website from Queen's University includes helpful templates, resources and reports for faculty structuring experiential learning opportunities.

Planning and development worksheet

This worksheet can be completed online or exported so you can continue work on it. Note that If you advance another module or visit another site, your work will not be saved. Be sure to export your document before continuing.

Recommended next module:

Faculty and Academic Leaders: Establishing Learning Outcomes and Assessments for EL