Experiential Learning (EL) refers to the active process of learning by doing, in a mindful and intentional manner. According to the Association for Experiential Education, “Experiential Learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and syntheses.”
The innovative CaPS ExL Program was created by professional career counsellors and is designed to:
- Educate students about the value of their out of classroom experiences
- Cultivate a mindful and intentional approach to help students make the most of these experiences
- Facilitate reflection before, during and following the experience
- Help students to communicate their learning to others, particularly future employers
As part of the program, students are encouraged to set goals, expectations and learning outcomes, assess and understand the skills they currently have as well as ones they have developed, and are provided with the tools to clearly articulate this information on paper or in interviews.
The ExL Program has three components:
- Pre-experience workshop: Mindful Involvement – In order to make the most of their experience, students are guided through the ExL Book and its uses and encouraged to reflect on their reasons for engaging in the experience and what they hope to learn and gain from it.
- ExL Book – A hands-on workbook including guiding questions, self-assessment exercises and prompts to facilitate reflection on the outcome of the student’s experience.
- Post-experience workshop: Reflections – In this follow-up workshop, students are shown how to unpack their experience in terms of learning and skills development through interactive exercises and discussion on their ExL Book entries.
The ExL Program can be used by staff and faculty as well as student leaders. CaPS will provide training on the ExL Book and how to guide students through it as well as offer pre- and post- workshop facilitation.
For more information contact Cindy Mancuso M.Ed., psych. (OPQ member) – cindy.mancuso [at] mcgill.ca