Experiential Education: A Path Towards Improving the Student Experience - page 7

In2016, thePremier'sHighlySkilledWorkforceExpert Panel released its final report aimedat
helpingOntariodevelopan integratedstrategy tomeet theneedsof itsdynamiceconomy. The
Building theWorkforceof Tomorrow: A
report (
emphasis added
recommendationsonhowtheprovincecanbuildon itsworld-class skills, education, and
training systems toprepareOntario's current and futureworkforce for the technology- and
knowledge-based jobsof todayand tomorrow. Fromapost-secondary standpoint, the report
recommends expandingopportunities for learningbyexperience (a.k.a. JohnDewey’s
philosophyof “learningbydoing”) so that every student completes at least oneELopportunity
beforegraduating fromuniversity, and theuniversityaims toclosegaps inskills and
competenciesby findingways to teachand recognize the skills that students learn, suchas
teamwork, problemsolving, andentrepreneurial spirit, andbydeveloping trainingprograms for
groupsunderrepresented in theworkplace toallowthembetter access toemployment
Employers, Industry, andCommunity
Employers recognize that humancapital is as valuableandnecessary for organizational and
productivitygrowthasother formsof capital. Thus, employersmust join their partners in
education, labour, andgovernment andbeengaged in traininganddeveloping their future
employees toensureahighly skilledworkforce for the future, includingprovidingEL,
volunteerism, andcommunity service learningopportunities. Partnershipsbetweenbusiness
andpost-secondary institutionshelp togenerateand transfer newknowledgeand technology
aswell as address the skills andemployment needsof students andemployers (Conference
Boardof Canada, 2016).
Thereare significant gapsbetween theperceptionsof educationproviders (us) andboth
employers andstudentswith respect toworkforce readiness. According towork conductedby
McKinsey&Company (2015), 82%of Canadianeducationprovidersbelieve theyaredeveloping
high-performinggraduateswhileonly34%of employers and44%of graduates themselves
believe theyareprepared for theworkforce.
FacultywhoutilizeEEwithin their practice report benefits connectingwithdifferent learner
groups, includingmature learners, learnerswhoneed topersonallyexperiencea subject tobe
motivated to learn, learnerswhohave trouble learningwithina formal classroom, and learners
whobenefit fromhands-onexamples toenhance traditional learning.
Experiential learningdiffers fromconventional academic instruction. As such, the roleof
instructor, student, location, andcurriculumdiffer. InEL, the student is empowered to take
responsibility for hisor her own learning. Thecontext differswith learningoften takingplace
outside theclassroomnot supportedbyacademic texts. Thecurriculummaynot beclearly
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