Experiential Learning at Brandeis
University graduates need support in navigating a changing society, and in finding a fulfilling career and lifestyle. Acquiring life skills and lessons learned through Experiential Learning, alongside the competency in the content they are learning, can lead to increased resilience, meaning making and capacity to make thoughtful decisions.
The integration of Experiential Learning across Brandeis helps students understand their motivations and values in relation to the choices they are making. They develop agency and learn core competencies/life skills that will enhance their Brandeis student careers and beyond.
What makes experiential learning (EL) at Brandeis so distinct is a focus on reflective processes that connect theory, practice, and the synthesis of new ideas, integral parts of experiential learning.
Experiential learning is a process through which a student develops knowledge, skills, and values from direct experiences. Academic experiential education at Brandeis includes community-engaged learning, internships and other activities including performances, lab work, and creative and studio work.
Curricular activities that are "experiential" contain all the following elements:
- Opportunities for the student to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results
- Opportunities for the students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically
- The design of the learning experience assumes some outcomes will be unknown and creates the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.
- Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis
*Definition by the Davis Education Committee, now the Experiential Learning Committee at Brandeis, and adapted from the National Society for Experiential Education