Toward A Curriculum in Experiential Learning

The University of Guelph will host the 2019 Teaching & Learning Innovations (TLI) Conference, April 30-May 1st. The theme of this year’s conference is Perspectives on Experiential Learning.

I am happy to announce that I will be joining Dr. Shoshanah Jacobs (Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology) to present the “Toward A Curriculum in Experiential Learning” workshop as part of the TLI. The ninety minute active workshop will challenge participants to consider how they might integrate experiential learning opportunities within the classroom to reduce barriers to those students who don’t have access to co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities. For those interested, the abstract is below.

Our workshop begins at 10 am on May 1. We hope to see you there!

Abstract: Experiential learning (EL) is most often experienced by students off campus and without curriculum. This sink-or-swim framework presents significant barriers and does not support student learning. We argue that the skills associated with experiential learning need to be deliberately taught within the existing curriculum across all disciplines from first to final year. In this 90-minute interactive workshop, we will guide you through a series of learning activities that teach students skills such as active listening, knowledge translation and teamwork. These activities will be discipline agnostic and we will challenge you to devise ways of applying your own discipline such that experiential learning does not compromise the teaching of content. We will provide alternatives of the same activities to meet the needs of classes of varying size and we will discuss methods of assessment for each. We will guide you through a curriculum mapping exercise that will allow you to identify the relevant places for introducing EL curriculum. By the end of our workshop, we hope to gather enough material to develop a handbook for publication and distribution.


  • Identify points within your own curriculum that present meaningful opportunities to introduce experiential learning
  • Develop your own experiential skills activities for students in your small and large courses
  • Reflect on the importance of a deliberate curriculum for learning skills related to experiential learning and on the importance of reducing barriers to access for all students

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