ERIC Number: EJ1051680
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Do Students Really Learn from Experience?
Ambrose, Susan A.; Poklop, Laurie
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n1 p54-61 2015
This article reports on a phenomenological study conducted in 2013 to investigate co-op learning from the students' perspectives. 104 seniors were interviewed who had completed one to three periods of co-op employment. A stratified purposeful sample with proportional representation of six university colleges was used. Using a standardized, semi-structured interview protocol, students were asked to describe co-op experiences (e.g., the most exciting, meaningful, or interesting; the most difficult or challenging; something they did in the co-op that they had never engaged in before) in order to elicit stories rather than to prompt them directly for their interpretation of their own intellectual gains. Analysis of the data revealed that co-op employment does, indeed, both extend and supplement the academic curriculum. It extends the curriculum by showing students the value and relevance of knowledge and skills gained in coursework (knowledge in action) and providing opportunities for the integration and use of knowledge and skills in new and real-world contexts.
Descriptors: Learning Experience, Experiential Learning, Phenomenology, Semi Structured Interviews, Achievement Gains, Cooperative Education, Graduate Surveys, College Seniors, Student Attitudes, Transfer of Training, Skill Development, Praxis, Program Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts