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Friday, June 24 • 10:00 - 10:50
CON11.04 - 2016 3M SoLE Grant Winner: Are we experientially disconnected? Understanding experiential learning within distinct realms of higher education in Atlantic Canada

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This session will present research that sought to examine experiential learning across higher education in Atlantic Canada. The research looked at three distinct levels of the academy: administration, teaching, and communications. The researchers conducted structured, qualitative interviews with a broad response group. The initial contact group was one administrator (Dean or Vice President) and one communications personnel (Director or Manager) from 16 universities in Atlantic Canada, plus 35 of Atlantic Canada’s 3M National Teaching Fellows, based at nine of those same universities. 3M NTFs were used as analogous to any other sample of teaching faculty because they cross disciplines, ranks, and institutions, but are also clearly recognized for excellence and leadership in teaching.

Our rationale for this inquiry was that experiential learning is now a well-used “buzzword” espoused by many higher education institutions in the region, but also nationally and internationally. As long-time experiential educators, the principal authors have constantly questioned whether their own institutions truly understand the concept or have they jumped on board and marketed their old programming with a new moniker? At multiple levels, can distinct levels within higher education articulate the differences between experiential learning and other aligned terms such as, hands-on learning, or service learning, or active learning? Then, to expand the discussion, what if the term education, i.e., experiential education vs. experiential learning is used, how does this seemingly small change cause a ripple in thinking and practice?

Understanding how we use, and sell, experiential learning can assist us in better empowering learners and affecting change – given the student engagement and social justice links often made with experiential learning. In our session we will limit the presentation to key findings, thus allowing time for facilitated discussion and interaction about how our insights from Atlantic Canada are relevant across the country and even further afield.

avatar for Patrick Maher

Patrick Maher

Dr. Pat Maher is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Community Studies at Cape Breton University. He is a 3M National Teaching Fellow (2014), Editor of the Journal of Experiential Education and Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching... Read More →

Additional Authors

Brittany Erickson

Brittany Erickson is a Research Assistant at Cape Breton University. She holds an MBA in Community Economic Development from CBU and conducts research work across a variety of disciplines. Not attending.

TA Loeffler

Dr. TA Loeffler is a Professor in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation and Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is a 3M National Teaching Fellow (2008), and co-edited The Theory and Practice of Experiential Education (AEE Press, 2009).

Friday June 24, 2016 10:00 - 10:50 EDT
UCC 56

Attendees (5)