At the University of Guelph, engaging students in high-impact learning experiences is fundamental to their success as learners and researchers. Foundational to this success is participating in experiential learning (EL), where students intentionally mobilize their curricular and co-curricular knowledge, skills and abilities and apply them in real-world contexts. The most valuable learning occurs when students can critically reflect on their experiences with both university experts and employers. When conducted in partnership, EL provides a rich pool of talent; experienced talent that has engaged and contributed to an employer in a meaningful way.

Enhanced faculty support

Partnerships and relationship-building are at the core of the University of Guelph’s EL — or work integrated learning — initiatives. As the school seeks to expand and find more opportunities for students to connect with industry and the community, it’s enhancing its teaching resources and practices. For example, Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd) is supporting faculty by working with Riipen, a company that facilitates project-based learning, to incorporate micro-experiential learning opportunities into curriculum. In these micro-experiential learning opportunities, students are paired with potential employers such as companies, community organizations, government agencies, and NGOs and work authentically to address real-world issues.

But integrating experiential learning into courses and programs requires significant resources and time for faculty, staff, and partners alike. This raises critical questions on how best to create, deliver, support, and sustain EL opportunities.

Upcoming conference covers latest on EL approaches

These topics and others will be explored at the Perspectives on Experiential Learning conference taking place April 30th and May 1st at Rozanski Hall on campus at the University of Guelph.

Students are paired with potential employers such as [...] NGOs and work authentically to address real-world issues

Open to everyone including students, faculty, and employers, the conference features a total of 111 sessions with presenters from across Canada, Brazil, the US, and the UK. Sessions will highlight approaches to building effective relationships, and discuss barriers to access and improving inclusivity in programming. In addition, the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) will present a new platform aimed at connecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and non-profit organizations with institutions and EL opportunities.

Outside of the formal sessions, there will be plenty of networking opportunities for attendees to connect and engage with a variety of professionals, including industry partners, community partners, and faculty, and students from universities and colleges across Ontario. Anyone interested in EL — whether seasoned professional or new to the terrain — is encouraged to register and take advantage of the latest information, insight, and research.

 

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit Perspectives on Experiential Learning.