Simply put, experiential education is “learning-by-doing.” It is hands-on and participatory.
Experiential learning happens in lots of places and in a wide variety of situations. It happens in laboratories and neighborhoods, in office buildings and national forests, in the corporate arena and the public sector, in field research settings and inner cities, in other cultures and in our own backyard.
It occurs in every dimension of the K-Plan, and has for more than forty years.
Experiential learning is found at the heart of
- academic courses (nearly 20% of all classes at K are experiential in some significant part)
- internships and externships (some 75% of students complete one)
- study abroad programs (More than 80% of students participate in study abroad )
- senior projects (over 50% of all SIPs are field-based)
- service-learning (More than half of our students participate in service-learning projects)
- Social Justice Leadership
It also occurs on athletic courts, in campus organizations, and in many campus employment venues.
But experience only presents the promise of learning. Those who make the most of these kinds of experiences have thought their way through them – they determine goals up-front, they reflect on their observations throughout, and they analyze the outcomes. This is what the K-Plan is all about.
Academic study is the foundation of a college experience. Experiential learning offers the opportunity to deepen and contextualize intellectual thought. Theory learned but not tested remains an abstract idea. Theory applied connects the abstract with reality and the future.