The Office of Faculty Development

Active and Experiential Learning

Active learning are learning activities that center the student in their learning.  It is a means to directly engage students in the learning process.  A counterexample would be a traditional lecture during which students passively listen to the instructor.  Types of active learning activities may include (but are certainly not limited to) group projects, inquiry activities, small- or large-group discussion, socratic seminars, live performances, or construction of a robotic device that performs a task.  Often, active learning activities fall somewhere along the task authenticity spectrum.  Authentic learning activities are activities in which students are required to develop, use, or demonstrate the knowledge or skills that are required in the activity’s authentic analog.  Experiential learning opportunities are authentic learning experiences where students gain knowledge or develop skills by actually doing.  Some examples of experiential learning may include residencies or internships.  Experiential learning may also include structured or sheltered experiences.  For example, in a Spanish class, an assignment where the class has a lunch field trip to a local Peruvian restaurant and order in Spanish and have Spanish conversation over lunch would be experiential learning.

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