Why Consider Experiential Learning this Course Selection?

Posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2020

Have you ever wanted to gain industry experience while still completing your undergraduate degree? Would you like a leg-up in your field when you're applying for jobs after graduation? Or maybe your focus is to learn in a hands-on setting like a research laboratory or an artist's studio. Would you want to shadow an industry professional, do field work, or solve real-world problems? Experiential Learning is just the opportunity for you! 

With course selection right around the corner, we wanted to highlight what exactly Experiential Learning is, and why you should consider taking an Experiential Learning (EL) course. We spoke with several different professors, supervisors, and students who have either taught, supervised, or taken an EL course and they all agree; Experiential Learning is an amazing way to gain relevant, hands-on experience while meeting and connecting with people who are interested in the same things as you. 

So what really is an Experiential Learning course? Danica Maltovic, Internship Specialist and Co-Instructor of UNIV*3140 at the University of Guelph explains it succinctly as "learning by doing (...) it lets you learn real-world skills while getting course credit and contributing to your degree program." Experiential Learning allows you to customize your education to your specific passions and interests.

All University of Guelph students can benefit from EL opportunities at large, whether that's volunteering, work-study, internship, a community project or placement, hands-on applied research course or certificate program, leadership program, field course, co-operative education, mentorship, externship, paraprofessional placement, and more! Just to name a few opportunities, University of Guelph offers over 1,500 employment positions to students on campus annually, and there are over 200 undergraduate experiential learning courses to choose from. No matter how and where you choose to gain hands-on experience, there are ample opportunities for you at U of G. Semesterly course selection provides a handful of EL courses for you to choose from, whether they have specific outlines pre-made, or if you are the one creating the projects and learning objectives. Courses offered in the Winter 2021 semester include Independent Research (customizable based on your program), Flexible Internship in Agri-Food, Biological Sciences Internship, and The Certificate in Leadership

Experiential Learning allows you to build transferrable skills and sets you up with a professional network for life after graduation. Dr. Cezar Khursigara, Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Proffesor of MCB*4500 notes, "Over the years, I've accepted a lot of fourth year project students in my lab, and many of them continued on to do graduate work in the lab as well." Jinal Manek, 5th year U of G student studying Microbiology and working in Dr. Kursigara's lab said that her favourite experience in the course is "participating in the weekly lab meetings. This way, I get the opportunity to communicate with other lab members, get to know their perspective and their research, and learn so much more from them."

The University of Guelph was ranked third in all of Canada for Experiential Learning Education - further proof that it's undeniable EL courses at U of G foster opportunities for students to learn in unique and custom-created environments. "I love Experiential Learning," says Emma Ongman, 4th year student at U of G studying Studio Art, "I think it's one of the best decisions I ever had as a student."

To learn more about Experiential Learning opportunities at the University of Guelph, email experience@uoguelph.ca or visit uoguelph.ca/el.