What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning refers to a philosophy and methodology focusing on the application of instruction in and out of the classroom. There are objectives and outcomes planned and articulated prior to the learning experience and measured after the experience. Delaware Valley College recognizes the importance of integrating applied classroom learning with real-world experiences and requires all students to participate in the Experiential Learning Program conforming to the standards of the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). Our goal is to inspire students to be actively engaged learners contributing to the greater society.
What is Experiential Learning at Delaware Valley College?
Delaware Valley College’s Experiential Learning Program (ExLP) provides active, hands-on experiences tied to specific academic objectives and outcomes as a requirement for graduation. The program is administered by the Center for Student Professional Development. The program is designed to supplement academic theory and offers students the opportunity to participate in carefully monitored classroom and field-based learning experiences in agency, business, education, and government settings.
Students are given the opportunity to participate in real-world activities as a basis for learning and to develop specific career goals and aspirations. The experience allows students to apply their education and prepare for fulfilling careers. It also satisfies the Experiential Learning Requirement to complete a minimum of two (2) activities prior to graduation. The ExLP requirement can be met through internships, student teaching, career exploration, study abroad, undergraduate research, service-learning, leadership, community service, civic engagement, or other courses with the ExLP designation.
All students will apply and demonstrate what they have learned in their respective field of study, by:
- Being actively involved in the experience;
- Reflecting on the knowledge gained from the experience;
- Using analytic skills to conceptualize the experience; and
- Demonstrating decision-making and problem-solving skills gained from the experience.
The Experiential Learning Program is designed to prepare students for lives of meaningful work and service. By engaging students in opportunities that integrate knowledge and experience, the ExLP fosters an understanding and life-long appreciation for learning. Students engage in a process that includes preparation, action, and reflection to develop the habits required to learn effectively from experience and the commitment to put knowledge into action as socially responsible global citizens.
- Credits and activities needed to participate vary by major
- GPA varies by activity
- Completion of departmental prerequisites
- Approval of ExLP Advisor and Department Chairs
Internships-combine career-related work experience with a structured academic learning experience. Work is substantive and supports students’ academic and career goals under faculty supervision to promote critical thinking, observation, and reflection.
Student Teaching-allows students to gain field and professional experience with structured faculty support and supervision of a cooperating teacher. This experience must be a full-time apprenticeship.
Career Exploration Experience- allows students to investigate career options and gain initial experience in related work settings to enhance student skill sets, under professional supervision of Experiential Learning staff and Faculty.
Experiential Learning Courses (Service & Practicum)- allow students to engage in activities that address human and community needs or a one-time work experience together with structured class assignments.
Research- allows students to gain hands-on experiential learning by conducting research in an academic setting. Research must include relevant application to students’ field of study.
Study Abroad- allows students to gain experiential learning abroad in a structured, university-sponsored program with faculty supervision and guidance.
Leadership Program- Leadership involves the need to collaborate with people who work together to create positive change. Ultimately, students in the Experiential Leadership Program will learn that they are responsible for their actions and share the responsibility for the actions of those they can influence. The Leadership Program provides an opportunity to educate students about leadership concepts and theories and also provides learning experiences that allows them to put theory into practice for the sake of their organizations, communities and society.
Community Service- allows students to engage in a formal or informal consultation with local nonprofit and community-based organizations; it is designed to improve the quality of life for community residents or to solve particular problems related to community needs.
Civic Engagement- allows students to engage in an activity that promotes the quality of life in a community through governmental or not-for-profit development of policy and procedure in both political and non-political processes.
The student, in consultation with the ExLP Advisor and Department Chair, completes the Experiential Learning application form, which includes potential tasks and learning objectives. Student and Chair sign the form for the student to complete the registration process.
Academic credit is awarded by departments. The total amount of credit varies based upon the nature of the work, the academic projects, and the amount of time spent on the activity. In most cases, a minimum of 40 hours for each credit earned is required.
Students evaluate their work experience by examining structure, value, meaning, relation to coursework, and impact on career goals through ExLP forms and via online surveys. Faculty will evaluate and grade student experiential learning activities through academic assignments.