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ERIC Number: EJ871318
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0024-1822
The Power of Experiential Education
Eyler, Janet
Liberal Education, v95 n4 p24-31 Fall 2009
Experiential education, which takes students into the community, helps students both to bridge classroom study and life in the world and to transform inert knowledge into knowledge-in-use. It rests on theories of experiential learning, a process whereby the learner interacts with the world and integrates new learning into old constructs. Experiential education can lead to more powerful academic learning and help students achieve intellectual goals commonly associated with liberal education. Experiential education can help students transition more gracefully from college to work, and community-service experiences prepare them to be more engaged citizens. Experiential education can also improve the quality of liberal learning itself and increase the likelihood that students will be able to use throughout their lives the knowledge, critical abilities, and habits of mind acquired in their studies. This does not happen automatically or easily, however. Faculty members who are dubious of awarding credit for volunteering or for work do have a valid point. But such credit is for learning; the challenge for faculty members in the liberal arts is to incorporate experiential education into their instruction and to assess the learning outcomes of these experiences. This requires a clear sense of what learning in the community or the workplace can add to the understanding of subject matter, training in skills to recast appropriate courses to integrate these experiences, and logistical support for placement and monitoring of student work that is more closely connected to the curriculum. Liberal arts programs need to support faculty involvement in the planning and implementation of experiential education. Without this attention to both structure and faculty leadership, experiential education will remain at the periphery and its promise will not be realized.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A