A model for implementing a college-wide experiential learning program in higher education
ScienceWith Practice (SWP) was conceptualized to provide opportunities for agriculture students to develop a planned learning component as part of their work experiences with faculty and staff in university research laboratories, farms, greenhouses, and other units. This college-wide program was designed and implemented using adult learning theory and best practices found in the literature. Activities included development of learning agreements, individual progress visits, regular student seminars, an end-of-experience symposium, a recognition banquet, and a formal evaluation. Students had opportunities to acquire technical agriculture skills; explore linkages between upperlevel coursework, research, and the world of work; develop skills related to organizing, planning, and conducting research; and consider graduate education and research as a potential career. Students earned academic credit for articulating their personal growth and what was learned. Student expectations included: 1) participation and communication; 2) a journal of activities and experiences; 3) a final report and reflection; 4) a formal 20-minute presentation; and 5) a comprehensive portfolio. Science With Practice developed into a program in which students took more responsibility for their work and connected their learning and work experiences and faculty transitioned from employers to mentors.
This article is from NACTA Journal 53 (2009): 2. Posted with permission.