Hungry to know more about experiential learning on campus?

Group of travellers at sunset. View from top of La Palma volcano

By Rachel Braun, Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning

The Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning (TI) Experiential Learning (EL) Lunch & Learn Series invites members of the campus community – both academic and non-academic – to learn how colleagues across campus are integrating experiential learning into their teaching.

Under the guidance of the Vice-Provost (Teaching and Learning), staff within the TI are developing centralized supports for experiential learning at the University of Calgary. Initial consultations throughout campus community in 2018 repeatedly voiced strong interest in connecting with other practitioners and sharing strategies for facilitating learning through experience. In response, the TI EL Lunch & Learn Series launched last November (see the UToday story, What does experiential learning look like in action?)

The challenges of fostering student engagement in a multiple destination international field program

The series kicked off the new year with the Department of Geography’s Dr. Darren Sjogren and Dr. Aaron Williams’ session on fostering student engagement in a multiple destination international field program. From their years of experience, they encouraged colleagues to make strategic use of pre-departure preparations, to emphasize story-telling as a means to ease student anxiety about “being right”, and to encourage exploration by assigning tasks unique to the location.

Simulation without borders

In February, Carla Ferreira (RN) and Tracey Clancey (RN) championed that simulation-based learning experiences (SBLEs) can happen across disciplines, with or without expensive simulation gadgets. Whatever your context and resources, there are three key components of SBLEs:

  1. Pre-brief: The information session held prior to the start of a simulation activity that sets the stage for a scenario and assists participants in achieving the scenario’s objectives.
  2. Unfolding Scenario: The context that students are learning about, e.g., emergency room care, difficult conversations with others, etc. Scenarios vary in length and complexity depending on the learning objectives.
  3. Debrief: The session following the scenario where the facilitator provides constructive feedback about the students’ performance. The debrief is the most important component of SBLEs. When debriefing effectively, students critically reflect on their learning, thus making new connections between theory and practice, and cultivating the courage and curiosity to try something new during the next simulation. A few famous monsters demonstrate what not to do.

Attend the Taylor Institute Experiential Learning Lunch & Learn Series

There are two more lunch-and-learn events happening this term. Light lunch is provided.

  • On March 18, Dr. Barry Wylant (Faculty of Environmental Design) invites discussion on the evolution of experiential learning in post-secondary design studios in the last century at “Design Studio: A Century of Experiential Learning
  • On April 10, Dr. Yvonne Poitras Pratt and Dr. Patricia Danyluk (both of Werklund School of Education) host “Connecting Indigenous and non-Indigenous Learners”, where they share ways in which they have brought experiential learning to students enrolled in  the graduate program, “Indigenous education: A call to action”

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