International Study and Experiential Learning: The Academic Context
Experiential learning is a pedagogy that actively engages the student in the phenomena that they are studying, such as in cooperative education, internships, clinical experience, service learning, outdoor leadership, organizational development, and activity-based learning. When students develop their own research agenda, engage in critical thinking and test their interpersonal skills, they come face to face with an alternative worldview, learning through both action and reflection, including the consequences of the larger social and ethical implications of this knowledge.
This article will explore experiential learning as a framework for enhancing the educational value of an international experience. After a brief review of theorists of experiential learning, the accepted principles of good practice in the field will be discussed, followed by discussions of the design of learning objectives and learning contracts, and the importance of this type of learning as it relates to international programs.
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