Experiential Learning K-12

Experiential learning is not learning by doing - simply participating in a learning activity doesn't necessarily make it experiential.

Skilled Trades Exploration

Classroom STEM Challenge

Problem Solving Using Virtual Tools

A graphic of the experiential learning cycle. A three circle Venn diagram made up of Participate, Apply and Reflect.

The Experiential Learning Cycle

Experiential Learning is an approach to teaching that provides opportunities for students to co-construct their learning by:

  • participating in rich experiences connected to a community outside of the classroom;

  • reflecting on those experiences to create meaning and identify learning; and

  • applying their learning to influence their decisions and actions in various aspects of their lives.

Skype Call with Scientists

The experience can involve local, national, or global communities where teachers and students are:

  • physically present (an on-site experience); or

  • present through the use of digital tools and technologies (a virtual experience); or,

  • a combination of the these two (a blended experience).

OYAP Placement

Field Trip to a Local Farm

Manufacturing Tour

Definitions and descriptions listed below.

Cooperative Education Work Placements

Field Study

An experiential learning opportunity involving exploration of the outdoors or other environments or organizations. The opportunity may be open-ended − students might investigate similarities and differences between local environments – or it can be organized for a specific purpose.

Field Trip

An excursion by a class or group of students beyond the school environment. The purpose of the trip is usually observation for educational purposes or to provide students with experiences outside their everyday activities.

Project-/Inquiry-/Project-Based Learning

  • Project-Based Learning: An approach to teaching and learning that empowers learners to collaborate in teams, mentored by their teachers, as they research real-world questions, pose solutions to real-world problems, and design real-world products in a rigorous way

  • Inquiry-Based Learning: An approach to teaching and learning that places students’ questions, ideas, and observations at the centre of the learning experience.

  • Problem-Based Learning: An approach to teaching and learning that focuses learners on solving problems within a real-life context, encouraging them to consider the situation in which the problem exists when trying to find solutions.

Service Learning

Service Learning is experiential learning that connects the classroom to the community and back to the classroom with the goal of enacting meaningful and helpful contributions to the local, regional, national, and/or global community.

Service Learning engages teachers and students with their community in a structured way that allows for learning and curriculum objectives to be met by students, and needs to be addressed by the community.

Job Shadowing/Job Twinning

  • Job Shadowing: A one-on-one observation of an individual at a community placement.

  • Job Twinning: A one-on-one observation of a cooperative education student at his or her community placement.

Work Experience

A planned learning opportunity, within any credit course, that provides students with a short- to medium-term experience at a work placement.

Cooperative Education Program

A program that allows students to earn secondary school credits while completing an experiential learning opportunity connected to a community. In the context of the policy framework proposed in this document, a cooperative education program includes a classroom component and a community component. The community-connected experiential learning opportunity enables students to apply and further develop the knowledge and skills described in the expectations of a related course from the Ontario curriculum.

For more information regarding the cooperative education program, please click here.

Cooperative Education Stand-Alone Course

A new cooperative education course that will include a 55-hour classroom component based on expectations that outline the knowledge and skills students will need to be successful in their community-connected experiential learning opportunity and in their lives beyond school. Students will demonstrate and further develop their knowledge and skills through their community connected learning experience(s).

For access additional information and resources regarding Experiential Learning, please contact Chris St. Amand at chris.stamand@sccdsb.net or visit https://el.sccdsb.net