Experiential Learning

Students and instructor gathered around a computer in a chemistry lab
 Archeology dig with several studies working different parts of the site.
 A student in another country with a baby elephant.  Elephant has trunk draped over student's neck.
 Two students using a large tube to draw water from an artificial test pool.
 Instructor and several students measuring diameter of small tree in the forest.
 Student holding bird with several other students looking on.  Instructor showing student how to band leg.
 Instructor and two students wearing  protective gear and looking at paperwork in a lab.
 Grad student holding large species of cockroach native to South America.
 Students sitting outside in a circle, one with drum.
 Four students sitting outside Armstrong Center at a cafe table discussing a group project.
 Botany class outside, gathered around a tree and doing an identification exercise.
 Group of students sitting outside painting pottery bowls.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I will learn.

Benjamin Franklin, 1750


This website was developed by the Miami University Faculty Learning Community "Transforming the Classroom and Student Learning with Experiential Learning" during the 2018-19 school year. The project was supported by the Center for Teaching Excellence and included input from faculty and staff across all campuses at Miami University.

The purpose of this website is to provide a central online resource on experiential learning for faculty and staff at Miami University. It provides an introduction to experiential and transformational teaching as an effective pedagogy, as well as some practical steps and resources to implement experiential learning across a broad spectrum of courses. It is not intended to be comprehensive, but to offer some guidance as well as additional resources to support faculty and staff in adopting experiential learning into their courses.


Experiential learning may be defined as the process of making meaning from direct experience in a real world or an "out of the traditional classroom" context. It offers students the opportunity to initiate lifelong learning through the development and application of academic knowledge and skills within the context of the classroom or in new or different settings. In experiential learning, educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and written reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify perspectives or values. Educators serve as facilitators or mentors guiding and empowering students to take ownership of their learning experiences.

Because experiential learning is a broad term, it can encompass many different categories of learning, including undergraduate research, community/civic engagement, service learning and career and practical experiences such as internships, clinical placements, co-ops or student teaching.

Key Components:

  • Connection of academic ideas, concepts, and skills to a new and different context
  • Facilitated and guided practice
  • Sustained duration or immersion (the amount of time engaged should be the equivalent of at least one credit for at least one academic term)
  • Opportunity for pre-flection and reflection on the learning goals and experience
To find out more about experiential learning, we urge you to follow the navigation links on the left side of the page. The final section on Resources includes national and Miami resources. 

Topics to Investigate:

  • What is experiential learning?
  • Experiential learning as an effective pedagogy
  • Multidisciplinary approaches and application across disciplines and majors
  • How to integrate experiential learning into your course
  • Use of Reflection/Pre-flection
  • Using experiential learning as Service-Learning
  • Using experiential learning in online courses
  • Developing partnerships/creating a shared vision in your community
  • Assessment of experiential learning: Program evaluation and rubrics
  • Resources for more information and professional development
  • References and Literature Review

Thank you to all who assisted and supported this project including the Faculty Learning Community members who developed this resource for Miami University:
Susan Baim
Gabriela Bermudez
Evelyn Covington
Sharon Custer
Stephanie Danker
Karleah Harris
Suzanne Klatt
Claire McLeod
Mysore Narayanan
Jacqueline Rioja Velarde
Amy Restorick Roberts
Ziva Schachar
Terri Spahr Nelson, FLC Facilitator