Challenges to Consider:

  • Limited class time to spend on the experiential activities or at the various stages of them. It is important that we provide enough time for students to engage in the activity but also in all other stages of the Experiential Learning Cycle, such as the Reflection, Conceptualization, and Experimentation.
  • Limited access to resources. Access to certain resources (photocopies, access to computer and Internet) may be deemed necessary for students to experience all that experiential learning activities have to offer.
  • Constraints by the demands of the curriculum. Instructors should prepare and carefully plan the experiential activity, and how they will address the corresponding learning outcomes.
  • Guidelines that are over restricting to students’ exercise of free will power in terms of how they will engage in the experiential activities. Students should feel comfortable to use their judgement and apply their knowledge from past experiences to address the issues explored through the experiential activity.
  • Inadequate group work skills. Engaging successfully in experiential activities requires that student have developed good group work skills and are able to contribute and function effectively within the group. Instructors should provide appropriate guidelines on the roles and expectations of group members and encourage them to monitor and reflect on the progress of their project or engagement.
  • Not clear allocation on the credit/mark for the experiential activity. Engagement in experiential activities may require a lot of time and effort from both the instructor and the students. Students need to feel that the time and work devoted on the engagement is acknowledged and specific, and that measurable learning objectives are identified. It is important that there are clear evaluation criteria and expectations communicated to students through Rubrics or scoring scheme.
  • Not enough opportunities for reflection. Experience alone may not lead to meaningful learning if students do not reflect on the experience. Reflection is an essential component of learning and the students should be provided with opportunities to reflect, evaluate the experience, make links to prior experiences and knowledge, share perspectives with others, and make links to theoretical concepts and course content.
  • Overwhelming commitment requirements for the instructor. Organizing, monitoring and facilitating experiential learning engagements for your students can be a daunting undertaking for instructors with increased demands from their personal time and space. For example, instructors may need to meet with external stakeholders to arrange for guest-speakers to visit class, review the content of their lecture and how best could fit the objectives of the course and the interests of the students, co-create and assist in the logistics of engaging students in interactive activities, arranging for covering the traveling or any other costs for the guest-speakers and applying for reimbursement from the department, etc. Further, instructors may take into consideration the time needed for reviewing the weekly reflections of the students, or evaluating assignments that may require training of Teaching Assistants and spending an overwhelming amount of time on watching video projects¬† and reading through daily webposts.
  • Ethics/Privacy and anonymity issues. Depending on the nature of the students experiential learning activity, instructors should be mindful of the ethics of student’s engagement and possible requirement of participation of third parties. For example, in the case where students need to conduct interviews, appropriate consent forms (approved by the Ethics Committee of the university) should be provided and signed by the participants and interviewees. Participants’ anonymity and confidentiality should be ensured and relevant ethical concerns should be addressed appropriately.