Make Experiential Learning REAL on Your Campus: Principles for Success

As the cost of attending college has risen, so have the voices questioning the value of the college experience. How many articles have we all read questioning whether the debt incurred to complete a four-year degree is worth it? One clear strategy for showcasing the value of a traditional university experience is to integrate high-impact practices into the undergraduate curriculum. These practices, first identified by George Kuh, have been rigorously studied, and there is now ample data documenting that students who engage in high-quality applied learning experiences fare better than their peers who do not. This fall our institution will be implementing a campus-wide experiential learning requirement (called REAL, which stands for Relevant, Experiential and Applied Learning), and we would like to share some guidance on what to do if you are tapped to forward such an initiative. While we can’t possibly provide a blueprint that will fit every institution, we do have some general principles that can set you on the right path.

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