IELI 2020 Session Descriptions
International Experiential Learning Institute
Session Descriptions and Learning Outcomes
• The participant will gain a complex understanding of how individuals learn from experience.
• The participant will reframe assessment, recognizing the centrality of student learning.
• The participant will apply the skill of cocurricular mapping to plan complex learning experiences as students progress.
• The participant will evaluate experiential learning opportunities they oversee to improve student learning.
• The participant will create maps to help plan for experiential learning activities that are holistic, integrative and transformational.
Can I teach you to juggle in ONE minute? Building a foundation for experiential learning (75 minutes).
This opening session is titled, “Can I teach you to juggle in one minute.” The answer as you might expect is, “No.” The idea likely seem ludicrous. How can you teach something as complex as juggling in such a short period of time. But shouldn’t the idea of teaching leadership in a single workshop seem likewise silly? Or even over the course of a semester or a year? To do better, we must ask ourselves how we could better sequence the development of complex learning over time.
This session will allow us to see the world through the lens of a new learner, applying the skills of juggling to experience experiential learning from the inside, out.
Carts before horses: Rediscovering the primacy of student learning (75 minutes).
Assessment has always been intended to help us measure the impact of our programs. But it can be sadly misconstrued as an exercise in compliance where more thought and consideration is put into assessing student learning than we put into creating it in the first place. This is how the “cart” of assessment can end up being placed in front of the “horse” of student learning (Preston and Peck, 2017). For example, we make assessment plans, but how often do we make “learning plans” for experiential learning episodes in which we detail how we will create the learning we plan to assess?
While some may think of experiential learning as too emergent to plan, overreliance on this belief can justify a lack of adequate planning for student learning. The goal of this session will be to share techniques and resources for re-focusing our assessment efforts on student learning rather than on measurement.
Keep the change: Using reflection to frame the transformative qualities of learning (90 minutes)
Confucius wrote, “Knowledge without thought is labor lost.” By this standard, it is often disheartening how much effort is wasted on college campuses each year. There are a myriad of depressing statistics about how little students retain of what they hear, read, or do. Many bemoan the consumerist notions of education that seem so pervasive and conspire to relegate student learning to mere vocational training in which the diploma is the ultimate goal. The result is that students less often expect to be transformed by their college experiences. The value of education, like that of a car, appears to plummet the moment it leaves the proverbial showroom floor.
A common misperception about experiential learning theory is that it suggests that students learn from experience. It does not. Rather, it suggests that student learn from reflection on experience. In this session, we will discuss four models of reflection and how each can be applied to help students make meaning from their learning experiences outside of the classroom.
Putting experiential learning outcomes in motion: Cocurricular mapping (120 minutes)
Learning does not take place in discrete or isolated episodes. It takes place across time, interacts with other learning and is applied in various contexts across one’s time in college. That is not, however, how we often endeavor to create or measure student learning. We sometimes act as though students can achieve significant gains based on their participation in short-term learning activities. Or perhaps even worse, we fail to capitalize on the potential of cocurricular learning by teaching students the same lessons over and over again. But how do we capture learning as it takes place over time? How do we create conditions that encourage students to develop increasingly complex skills the longer they are involved?
This session will provide an overview of cocurricular mapping with step-by-step instructions of how to contrast maps to which detail student learning and provide a guide for students to track their own learning and development.
HITs and MISSES: Holistic, integrative, transformative learning (60 minutes)
Learning should be holistic (comprehensively representing the totality of the topic), integrated (brining all parts together, connected to other learning) and transformative (it should help our students to become the people they want to be. Through a guided reflection, participants will be encouraged to make a plan for building these important qualities into their learning experiences.