New Online Modules: Experiential Learning

Hearing a lot of hype around experiential learning? Are you new to this idea, or have you been a long-time advocate and facilitator of experiential learning opportunities? If you fall into either of those categories, this blog post is for you. The University of Toronto is developing a suite of open-source,  reusable modules  to respond to a range of needs in this broad domain. Whether you currently facilitate or are in the planning stages of developing a curricular or co-curricular EL experience, these modules and the flexible learning assets within them can be tailored and integrated into your context.

How did this project come about, and how can you get involved? Read more to find out.  

In 2017, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (now the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) offered funding through the “Career Ready Fund” to support the development and expansion of experiential learning (EL). Specifically, funds were made available to support coordination and streamlining of EL experiences, developing faculty resources to support EL integration, and improving access to EL opportunities for students.

At the University of Toronto, a number divisions asked for a suite of online modules to support EL. Hands holding cut out letter of word "learning'Rather than having everyone create their own material, the University decided to establish a group to look at developing a suite of open educational resources that can be adopted or adapted across faculties and divisions. Which brings us to this project.

These resources are being created specifically with re-use, adaptation, and customization in mind so they can to be integrated in multiple ways to support differing practices, goals, and outcomes including curricular and co-curricular needs. To date, a group of representatives, including both content and subject matter experts, from divisions across all three campuses have collaborated on the initial topics and outlines and will continue to provide input into the planning and development of the resources. With student-facing and instructor/staff-facing modules, topics include: student readiness quick start, personal learning plan, student roles & responsibilities, reflection, partnership stewardship, instructional practices, assessment and reflection design.

What are re-usable modules? We are creating a group of learning assets—including powerpoint slides, videos, and learning activities—and suggesting the ways in which you can layer these assets into a cohesive module. Just want a video or a few slides? You will be able to take these individual assets and integrate them into your program.

We are currently in the design phase and drawing upon a broader group of stakeholders and subject matter experts to both incorporate existing and develop new material to make up the content of the EL resources. We will be developing these resources until January 2019 with ongoing consultations and contributions.

The final phase of the project is to support implementation over the months of January to April 2019. In this phase, we will be consulting with partners to discuss how these modules can be used in their context.

If you are interested in furthering EL opportunities and wish to contribute to these resources feel free to get in touch with us. Email Kimberly Elias  at kimberly.elias@utoronto.ca .

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Collaborators on this project include: Vice-Provost Innovations in Undergraduate Education; ITS – Online Learning Strategies; and Student Life.

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