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What in the world is experiential learning?
Experiential learning refers to experiences outside the classroom that
enable students to develop skills related to their academic or career
interests. Such experiences include internships, co-ops, summer employment,
Internships are typically one-time work or service experiences performed
by students who have attained at least some academic preparation in
a professional field. Advanced undergraduate or graduate students work
in professional settings under the supervision of at least one practicing
professional. Some internships are more involved than others. Many offer
pay, but quite a few dont. Most are done for academic credit.
A cooperative education experience is generally completed over more
than one semester. It includes work assignments related to the participants
academic and career interests. Co-op students are almost always paid,
and their work is considered productive to the employer. The typical
program plan involves students alternating terms of full-time classroom
study with terms of full-time, discipline-related employment. Most co-op
programs involve some sort of academic credit.
A practicum is generally a one-time work or service experience participated
in as part of an academic class. Some practicums offer pay, but many
dont. Almost all are done for academic credit.
Externships are also known as job shadowing and allow students to spend
between one day and several weeks observing professionals on the job.
Such experiences are unpaid; however, some colleges and universities
pick up travel and/or living expenses. Externships are generally not
done for academic credit.