Experiential learning provides students with hands on learning opportunities, that allow them to gain the right set of skills, knowledge, and experiences to prepare them for the future workforce. It involves learning through experience and reflection, and provides benefits for everyone involved, including the employers, students, and institutions. To read more about experiential learning benefits and how it may apply to you, please refer to the different packages tailored to you.
There are a wide range of experiential learning opportunities, most of which you can begin at any stage of your career. These opportunities include: activities, volunteering, field trips, career fairs, in-class experiments, take you child to work day, guest speakers, cooperative education, apprenticeships, internships, field placements, job shadowing, studying abroad, and research opportunities.
ELPH has various resources that allows you to connect with student talent, as well as various untapped talent in the peel halton region. Please visit out student connect page, where you can connect with high school students, as well as search what you are looking for and find the perfect post-secondary student.
A better question would be, why not? As an employer, there are many benefits your organization would receive in hiring a student including company loyalty, bringing in fresh new ideas, testing out potential future employees, and preparing the future workforce. These benefits, included with the government funding, grants, and awards you can receive in hiring a student gives you all the reason to do so.
Please visit the employer guide for more information on how you can get involved in experiential learning, and the benefits and incentives page for a full list of government resources.
According to Kolb’s cycle, there are four main elements that need to be included to provide a successful experiential learning opportunity:
  • Concrete experience: being engaged directly in an authentic situation
  • Reflective observation: noticing what happened and relating to past experience and conceptual understandings
  • Abstract conceptualization: distilling perceptions into abstract concepts
  • Active experimentation: testing new ideas; honing skills in a new experience
Thorough reflection is key, and is what facilitates learning and growth in the experiential learning process. For more information on Kolb’s cycle and the depth of reflection, please refer to the Educator’s package.
The best way to gauge the quality of experiential learning opportunities provided (as an employer or as an educator) is to create a thorough breakdown of what the experiential learning opportunity will hope to teach students and how it will work to support and advance their skills and knowledge and their understanding of real world. The second step is to create a pre-evaluation sheet and have students complete this sheet prior to participating in the experiential learning opportunity. This evaluation sheet will help identify what students’ goals are, what their expectations are, and what kinds of skills/knowledge they wish to acquire from this experience. Throughout the duration of the experiential learning opportunity provided this breakdown and the student pre-evaluation sheet will be referenced to gauge whether or not the experiential learning opportunity provided is meeting the goals and objectives of both the employer/educator and the student. Lastly once the experiential learning opportunity has completed, it is advised to have students fill out a post-completion evaluation sheet to better understand the meaningfulness of the EL experience. Similarly having employers’ fil out a similar sheet is also advised as this will add credibility to the whole experiential learning experience and show all stakeholders what they are gaining from participating in such experiences.
Experiential learning involves a broad range of activities, but the first place to start should be in the classroom. Some classroom opportunities may include in class labs and experiments, field trips, having a guest speaker discuss their career or company, career fairs, workplace tours, etc. It is important to encourage students to take part in these activities and more, and in order to provide them with the best opportunity, four key elements need to be considered: planning, preparing, facilitating, and evaluating. For more information on these elements, and more on how to integrate experiential learning in the classroom, please visit the Educator’s guide to Experiential Learning.
There are various advantages of adding someone from a disadvantaged labour pool into your workplace. These advantages range from being able to tap into a hidden talent pool, diversifying your workplace,mirroring your customer base, helping to strengthen the local community, helping to increase employee retention and lower turnover, opens access to tax benefits and many more!