Experiential Learning Inside the Classroom


Traditional teaching styles are becoming less and less effective at reaching today’s students.

Student boredom is a deterrent to learning, and higher education has been criticized for not sufficiently challenging students.

Research confirms that students learn most effectively from active engagement with information and ideas.

Students learn better when they take the initiative to apply concepts to practice, to solve real problems, to make decisions, and to reflect on the consequences.

Conventional pedagogy views experiential learning as taking place primarily outside the classroom. However, experiential learning works very well inside the classroom. It enables faculty members to pose problems, observe how students go about solving them, facilitate learning, observe learning as it occurs, and help students make meaning of their experiences. In this way, faculty members can address errors and misunderstandings during the learning process, rather than after they have occurred in homework assignments.

Experiential learning inside the classroom works very well in large classes and for students who have work and family responsibilities in addition to their classes. Simply put, experiential learning is the intentional combination of experience and learning so that each enhances the other. It is an excellent pedagogy for developing skills as well as knowledge, encouraging deep understanding of learning complex concepts, applying theory to practice, and preparing students to be critically reflective professionals.

Questions often posed by both experienced and new faculty members include:

  • How do you maintain the academic rigor necessary to higher-level learning?
  • How do you foster deep academic engagement?
  • Will experiential learning inside the classroom work in my discipline?
  • How do you best facilitate and assess the results of experiential learning?

The answer is to fashion classroom experiences that foster both engagement and reflection. In doing so, instructors bridge the divide between academics and application while at the same time maintaining rigor and focus.

During the one-hour video seminar Experiential Learning Inside the Classroom you will learn practical skills and strategies to introduce experiential learning successfully into your classroom.

Key deliverables

Your presenter, Barbara Jacoby, Ph.D., starts with learning theory and moves to practical advice on how to make experiential learning work in your classroom and subject area. You will learn:

  • How in-classroom experiential learning achieves desired outcomes
  • How experiential learning activities work in both large and small classes
  • The role of critical reflection in experiential learning
  • Steps to follow in designing experiential learning
  • The dos and don’ts of experiential learning
  • How to engage students in critical reflection
  • How to assess experiential learning

Learn from an expert

Barbara Jacoby, Ph.D., is faculty associate for Leadership & Community Service-Learning at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union Center for Campus Life at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a Fellow of the university’s Academy for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and was a Center for Teaching Excellence–Lilly Fellow during the 2007–08 academic year.

Get the recording of this seminar on CD or on-demand! Both include the complete transcript and all supplemental materials.

An optional Campus Access License is available for an additional $200. It allows the purchasing institution to upload the CD of the seminar onto the institution’s password-protected internal website for unlimited access by the entire campus community.

Who will benefit?

This seminar was developed for faculty and staff from a wide range of higher-learning institutions, from community colleges to research universities. If you are involved in instruction, faculty development, or support, you will find this seminar valuable.

Experiential learning methods are becoming best practices. Get your copy of Experiential Learning Inside the Classroom to learn how to incorporate these techniques into your syllabus.

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