Experiential Learning Support for Faculty
What is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning opportunities give students the chance to learn by doing. They allow students to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will help prepare them for the world of work, and to contribute to communities as engaged citizens. These experiences can also broaden their networks and help them apply their classroom learning to real-world contexts.
In 2016-2017, experiential learning (EL, previously named Work-Integrated Learning) was defined by the University of Guelph's Experiential Learning Task Force as:
A pedagogical practice whereby students gain new knowledge, skills and abilities due to the intentional application of classroom learning in a workplace or simulated workplace setting. Experiential learning opportunities are grounded in an intentional learning cycle and clearly defined learning outcomes. They engage students actively in creating knowledge and critically reflecting on their experiences, allowing them to understand how to transfer their knowledge and skills to future endeavours.
Experiential Learning Criteria:
The Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) has identified six criteria that must be met in order for an activity to be considered EL:
- The student must be in a workplace or a simulated workplace.
- The student must be exposed to authentic demands that improve their employability, interpersonal skills, and transition to the workforce.
- The experience should be structured with purposeful and meaningful activities.
- The student must apply university or college program knowledge and/or essential employability skills.
- The experience should include student self-assessment and evaluation of the students’ performance and learning outcomes by the employer and/or university/college.
- The experience should count towards course credit or credential completion, or be formally recognized by the college or university as meeting the five criteria above.
 Alongside the above-mentioned criteria, the (EL) environment must be accessible and in compliance with all laws and regulations.
 “Simulated workplace” is defined as a learning environment that models or emulates a professional workplace in function, equipment or operation, wherein a student engages in activities reflecting real work experience.
 “Authentic demands” are defined as work contexts, processes or practical experiences, with real-world application.
 The Skill Development Through Experiential Learning working group is currently aligning University of Guelph Learning Outcomes with essential employability skills, to which all experiential learning activities will be mapped.
MCU Experiential Learning Contextualization
|MCU EL Criteria||U of G Contextualization|
The student is in a workplace or simulated workplace.
The student is in a workplace or an environment that models or emulates a workplace in function, equipment or operation, wherein a student engages in activities reflecting real work experience.
The student is exposed to authentic demands that improve their job-ready skills, interpersonal skills, and transition to the workforce.
The student’s experience is designed to strengthen transferable skills, career competencies, and/or citizenship—all of which supports transition to the workforce.
“Authentic demands” are defined as work contexts, processes or practical experiences, with real-world application.
The experience is structured with purposeful and meaningful activities.
The experience includes learning outcomes that support and are constructively aligned with the student’s program learning outcomes and includes active supervision/mentorship of the student.
The student applies university or college program knowledge and/or essential employability skills.
The student applies university learning outcomes, program knowledge and/or essential employability skills (adopted from the Conference Board of Canada).
The experience includes student self-assessment and evaluation of the student's performance and learning outcomes by the employer and/or university/college.
The experience includes student self-assessment, such as reflection or self-evaluation of knowledge and/or learning progress.
The experience includes formal evaluation of learning outcomes by the institution and if applicable, the industry/community partner
The experience counts towards course credit or credential completion OR is formally recognized by the college or university as meeting the five criteria above.
The experience counts towards course credit or credential completion or is formally recognized on the experience learning record.
Types of EL
Examples of Curricular EL in the College of Arts
PHIL*1030: Introduction to Philosophy | Sex, Love, and Friendship
Instructor: Dr. John Hacker-Wright
In this first year course, students write an opinion piece for possible publication in The Ontarion. The opinion piece is based on readings done on ethical issues surrounding the use of sex robots. Students learn about writing on philosophical issues for a broad, public audience and how to present a concise and punchy argument that can draw attention to important issues.
ENGL*2130: Literature and Social Change
Instructor: Dr. Jade Ferguson
As part of a multi-year, long term partnership with the Guelph Black Heritage Society, Dr. Jade Ferguson and students in ENGL*2130 have built and contributed to www.blackpastinguelph.com, a website dedicated to the telling and retelling of stories of marginalized Black figures and institutions in Guelph, Wellington County, and beyond.
MUSC*2530/2540: Instrumental Ensembles I & II
Students take part in the study and performance of selected instrumental music through participation in one of the School's ensembles: Chamber Ensemble, Concert Winds, Contemporary Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble. This course also includes a reflective conversation and discussion on ensemble participation as preparation for professional musical performance.
ASCI*3000: Arts and Sciences Community Project
Instructor: Dr. Kate Hoad-Reddick
Students work in groups with a community partner to conduct original research and to complete a community-based project. Students complete the course with tangible professional development coupled with a greater awareness of the power and privilege of their educational experience.
2021 Partners: Guelph Black Heritage Society, Guelph Humane Society, Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, The Arboretum at UofG, The Guelph Chamber Choir, Victor Davis Memorial Court with Guelph Independent Living, Art Not Shame.
2020 Partners: Guelph Black Heritage Society, Guelph Humane Society, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis, Central Student Association Food Bank at UofG, Elora Festival and Singers, The City of Guelph, Guelph & Wellington Task Force for Poverty Elimination, The Arboretum at UofG, Guelph Community Health Centre and the Avon Maitland District School Board.
HUMN*3190/4190: Experiential Learning
Instructor: Dr. Mark Lipton
Students gain direct work experience and campus connection by working as a Peer Counsellor for the Student Support Network (SSN). Learners develop applied skills and gain the opportunity to assess personal interests and strengths in working with others.
HUMN*3180: Community Engagement Project
Instructor: Dr. Kate Hoad-Reddick
Students work in small teams to complete projects for community partners in Guelph and Wellington. Students also investigate experiential learning initiatives within higher education settings, including key debates surrounding the possibilities, limitations, justifications, and ethics surrounding these activities.
2022 Partners: The Arboretum at UofG, Elora Festival and Singers, Art Not Shame, Guelph Campaign School, Victor Davis Memorial Court
FREN*3160: Song, Lyrics, and Poetry in French
Instructor: Dr. Stephanie Nutting
Students work with professional poet and cultural mediator, Marc Sauvageau in this course. Students work with the Instructor and Marc to create original poetry and perform their creations. The top poems are submitted to CFRU for broadcast and the class completes valuable self-reflection after the experience. In this course, they get the opportunity to gain confidence in various skills, including public speaking, French-language skills, video creation and overall confidence.
HIST*3560: Experiential Learning in History
Past Project: In Winter 2020, Dr. Catherine Carstairs partnered with the Canadian Federation of University Women, the Guelph Civic Museum, and CESI to present the virtual exhibit: Her Story: Women Trailblazers of Guelph and Wellington. Students conducted interviews with notable women in the community, created an online exhibit, and took part in valuable reflective exercises.
Share your EL with us
Faculty and students are encouraged to share their EL success stories with the College of Arts and Experiential Learning Hub. Visit our new EL Faculty Feature Page to learn more about EL in the COA!
Contact EL Support in the College of Arts
Kate Hoad-Reddick, PhD
Experiential Learning Partnership and Educational Developer
Experiential Learning Fellowship (ELF)
The College of Arts Experiential Learning Fellowship supports the development and continuation of experiential learning opportunities within the College of Arts.
Click here to find out more about the EL Fellowship!