Toronto Metropolitan University
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Bridging the Theory/Practice Divide: Experiential Learning for a Critical, People-Centred Economy

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-24, 20:45 authored by Janice Waddell
This report provides an overview and analysis of the current understanding of how “experiential learning” is conceptualized, implemented and evaluated in professional service fields of study. Better understanding of this educational approach will benefit educators as well as students. Experiential learning is an integral part of the authors’ institutional culture: 90% of all undergraduate programs include an experiential learning component (Learning and Teaching Office, Ryerson University, 2015). Experiential learning is also rapidly expanding in other Ontario universities (Council of Ontario Universities, 2014). Despite its prevalent use, the field of experiential learning remains under-researched and the research that has been done is fragmented. There is a lack of evidence to support the extent to which this type of learning bridges the gap between theory and practice, broadens career prospects, and contributes to the development of students’ critical thinking skills. This report focuses on the nine professional fields associated with the Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University: Child and Youth Care, Disability Studies, Early Childhood Studies, Midwifery, Nursing, Nutrition, Public and Occupational Health, Regional and Urban Planning and Social work. (Executive Summary, page 3)


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