Students working on group project.

Upcoming events and opportunities

Community Consultations: Curricular Experiential Learning 

  • Our office is hosting a series of community consultations to better understand the experiences of faculty, instructors and staff involved in the development and delivery of curricular experiential learning. Join us for lunch and conversation as we shape together the future of EL at UM! 

The Experiential Learning Community of Practice - February meeting 

What we do

    • Support faculty and instructors in the development and deepening of experiential learning activities in courses and programs.
    • Act as a coordination point for sharing of high-impact experiential learning practices and resources across all faculties.
    • Work with colleagues to incorporate Indigenous pedagogies and inclusive practices within experiential opportunities.
    • Support measurement of the impact of experiential learning projects and activities, and gather data and stories about experiential learning at the university.
    • Champion a culture of best practices and innovation within experiential education through collaboration within the University and with colleagues across Canada.
  • A group of people working on a group project at a wooden table.

What is experiential learning?

  • Experiential learning is a pedagogical strategy that advances learning, personal growth and competency development by engaging students directly in the application of theoretical concepts in practice and reflecting critically on those experiences.

    At its best, experiential learning is intentional, reflective, and transformative, and promotes deep engagement with theory through relevant hands-on activities or immersion in a complex learning environment.

    Since the university’s founding, experiential learning has provided opportunities for students to apply their learning in a range of diverse contexts, and to develop the knowledge, skills and dispositions critical to life, work and global citizenship.

  • Diverse group of students laughing outside of a building.

Types of experiential learning

The 12 types of experiential learning identified by UM reflect our commitment to the education of the whole student, the diversity of learning experiences at UM (both curricular and co-curricular), and the dynamic, seamless nature of the experiential learning landscape.

icons for the types of experiential learning
Type of experiential learning Description
Applied Research Systematic investigation and original research, including research that utilizes Indigenous methodologies, conducted by a student under faculty guidance and/or co-created through collaboration with a community partner and faculty researcher.
Community Engaged Learning (CEL) Learning opportunities developed through collaborative and reciprocal partnerships between community, faculty/staff and students. The site of learning can be the classroom, the community or a land-based setting and the spectrum of engagement can vary from knowledge exchange and consultation to involvement, collaboration, and co-creation with community partners. 
Campus and Global Integrated Learning Intentionally designed and institutionally recognized experiences with a strong focus on personal growth and competency development with clearly defined learning outcomes and regular coaching, mentorship and/or supervision. For example, Elder or ceremonial helpers, elected and appointed governance and student leadership roles, orientation leaders, peer helpers, engagement in student mobility experiences (i.e. student exchange), student participation in Sweatlodges and other ceremonies.
Co-operative Education A Senate-approved academic program that alternates academic study with paid, full-time, supervised work experience. It is linked to the student’s area of study in appropriate fields of business, industry, government, social services, academic research and the professions in accordance with minimum criteria.
Creative Works Intensive creative effort that results in the production of fine artwork, dance, writing, filmmaking, musical compositions and other forms of creative expression. Examples include oral tradition and storytelling, self-organized paid performances, non-course-related rehearsals and music practices.
Entrepreneurship Engagement in the early-stage development of business start-ups and/or the advancement of ideas that address real-world challenges, while leveraging resources, space, mentorship and/or funding to achieve the desired outcomes.
Industry Project Students, individually or in teams apply discipline-specific knowledge to address an organizational challenge, explore a new idea, or start a new venture. Examples include business clinics, UMIDEA, and capstone projects.
Internship Supervised, discipline-specific work experiences where learning is formally assessed and academic credit granted. Unlike co-op, students do not alternate work experiences with academic terms.
Laboratories and Studios A distinct component of a course that includes the self-directed application of course concepts in a controlled setting.
Program-Based Placement Activities that are often required for completion of an academic program, where they practice the discipline or program-specific competencies, receive academic credit, and are typically not paid.  Examples include fieldwork, clinical and professional practice, dental clinics, field placements, law externships, and practica.
Project-Based Intentionally designed opportunities for students to engage in contextual experiences that require the application of disciplinary knowledge and critical analysis to demonstrate learning or to address a problem or unmet need. Examples include case studies, hackathons, simulations, incubators, problem-solving for industry/community, game-based learning, clients, moot court.
Work Experience Paid work in an on-campus or off-campus setting that is designed to promote the development of clearly defined competencies, is supervised, is approved by the Institution, and engages students in concrete opportunities to reflect on their learning (e.g., work study, graduate and undergraduate research awards, Teaching Assistants, Mini U Leaders, Residence Advisors, tutors).