“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”. Benjamin
Experiential Education (EE) is a concept and practice that guides our work in developing
practical, structured and meaningful learning experiences.
Experiential Education was built from Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb, 1984)
and is represented by a four-stage learning cycle in which the learner goes through
“the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience”
(Kolb, 1984, p.38). The four-stage learning cycle includes:
- Concrete Experience: A student has an experience, whether it is a new experience or
a reimagined experience.
- Reflective Observation: A student is able to reflect on their experience.
- Abstractive Conceptualization: Reflecting on one’s experience leads to the student
analyzing and drawing conclusions about what they have learned.
- Active Experimentation: The student then applies what they have learned to a real-world
It is possible to enter into the learning cycle at any stage. However, to be most
effective, students must achieve each stage of the cycle.
To learn more about Kolb’s Theory, please visit the following reference:
Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the course of learning and
development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Ministry of Education’s Principles and Practices
The Ministry of Education established principles of Experiential Learning to help
students obtain access to work-related experiences prior to graduation. They want
every student to have at least one Experiential Learning experience before they graduate.
There are four Experiential Learning Principles:
Postsecondary Supported, Workplace Linked
- Students participate in a workplace or simulated workplace environment
- Students are exposed to real workplace type demands and expectations
- “The goal of an Experiential Learning experience is to improve students’ employability
and interpersonal skills and to support their transition to the workforce”.
Meaningful, Structured, and Verified
- Students should be engaged in meaningful experiences
- Activities should be structured and purposeful with an evaluation component of the
- Students will apply their in-class learning to their experience
Compliant with Employment Laws
- Experiential learning activities can be paid or unpaid
- Activities need to comply with any application laws and regulations
- Experiential learning experience must be verified or evaluated
- Must count towards a course credit or credential
- Must be recognized by the institution to meet the Experiential Learning principles
For an experience to count as Experiential Learning, you must be able to check all
six boxes below:
- The student is in a workplace or simulated workplace.
- The student is exposed to authentic demands that improve their employability, interpersonal
skills, and transition to the workforce.
- The experience is structured with purposeful and meaningful activities.
- The student applies university of college program knowledge and/or essential employability
- The experience includes student self-assessment and evaluation of the students’ performance
and learning outcomes by the employer and/or university/college.
- The experience counts towards course credit or credential completion OR is formally
recognized by the college or university as meeting the five criteria above.