This research project explored the effectiveness of experiential learning programs within college education for producing long term, deeper understandings of the subjects being taught. To analyze the ..
This research project explored the effectiveness of experiential learning programs within college education for producing long term, deeper understandings of the subjects being taught. To analyze the effects of experiential learning on students, a literature review and synthesis of previous experiential learning studies and research was conducted. First, research was done into studies and publications that discuss educational concepts and theories regarding learning through experience, including Experiential Learning Theory itself. Next, studies of experiential learning programs and courses within academic institutions were analyzed to determine how experiential learning has been applied in the past in a variety of disciplines and how it has affected students. And lastly, studies and literature on how these programs have been applied in professional settings and how students whose educations included experiential learning opportunities perform professionally were compiled to provide a broader view of the impact experiential learning has on students. Along with the literature review, this project included phenomenological research into experiential learning at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, specifically within the David O’Malley College of Business’ Professional Consulting program, where students participate in an experiential learning course. Findings from both the literature review and phenomenological research were synthesized, and showed that experiential learning programs provide students with better understandings of the concepts explored and the deeper methods and theories behind the surface-level topics, which resulted in students holding onto the knowledge for longer and being able to better apply it in a wider range of scenarios, outside of those specifically explored during their education.