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Modernizing Learning Using Experiential Learning: CASTLE Leadership Presents at National 2018 SxSWEdu Conference


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April 9, 2018

By Marisa A. Dietrich

Most modern learning environments do not look markedly different than those from a century ago. To modernize education, educators must consider what is known about how people learn and how to best prepare students for their next career stage. Experiential education provides students with opportunities to work with communities solving real-world problems.

Modernizing Learning Using Experiential Learning
STEM education leaders Dr. Adam Fontecchio, Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering, and Director of Drexel University’s (CASTLE), and Dr. Jennifer Stanford, Assistant Professor of Biology, Co-director of CASTLE, joined by Dr. David Delaine, Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Education, Ohio State University, led a session presentation at the 2018 National SxSWEdu Conference on March 5, 2018.

The session, "Modernizing Learning Using Experiential Learning," focused on best practices and current research on experiential education, the challenges and how to overcome them, and how these approaches can promote diversity in STEM fields. According to Dr. Stanford, “Experiential learning opportunities are an awesome way to engage students in learning new content and skills. Empowering students to engage in solving real-world, complex problems can increase student motivation for learning, promote resilience, and help students to develop their professional identity.” She continues to say, “It is important to consider both how we can promote access to these types of experiences, and what factors are necessary for ensuring that an experiential learning opportunity is most beneficial for student learning.” 

Participants who attended the session learned how experiential education opportunities promote student engagement and intrinsic motivation for learning both content and skills. Participants also learned about different types of experiential learning, the benefits and challenges of implementing these experiences, and they recognized how experiential education can be beneficial in promoting retention and learning among women and underrepresented minority STEM students. To listen to the discussion visit here.