Experiential Learning Definitions

Experiential Learning (EL) supports students in gaining hands-on learning that helps them transition to the workforce.  Lakehead University uses the following definitions for experiential learning:

Applied Research – Completion of a major research paper or thesis project through discovery, synthesis, and/or application of information to solve a specific community/industry problem or question.

Community Service Learning – Students work in partnership with a community-based organization to apply their disciplinary knowledge to address identified community need to a global issue.

Co-operative Education – A work term that provides paid experience in a workplace setting related to the student's field of study.

Field Experience – Academic content applied to content outside the classroom through field trips and/or field-work in Canada or abroad.

Field Placement – A part-time experience in a setting relevant to their subject of study (e.g. 5-10 hours a week).

Internship - Supervised, discipline-specific work experience completed for academic credit. Students gain a program-related experience in a professional work environment for at least one semester full time.

Professional Practicum – Supervised, professional experience to provide students with the opportunity to practice and integrate knowledge skills. Required for professional programs, certification, licensing or registration (e.g. social work, nursing, education, music therapy).

Case Studies – Apply learning to real-life scenarios by working through complex, ambiguous real-world programs by encouraging the learner to work their own approach to define, analyze and solve the challenge, rather than analyze it from a distance.

Consulting Projects – Engage with an organization, business, or industry to identify issues or opportunities to develop solutions or strategies to industry problems. 

Creative, Performance or Exhibit – Artistic, physical, technical, management or production skills through intensive embodied and/or practice-based experiences that may include: rehearsals, performances, large ensembles, solo recitals and forms of music performance for academic credit.

Labs - Observe, test and apply course concepts in a controlled setting specialized for small group learning (typically affiliated with specific technology/facilities). A lab is a distinct course component, separate from a lecture, seminar or workshop.

Simulated Workplace - Engage students in a workplace project and experience completed as a required component of a course or program of study.

Studio Work – Observe, practice, explore, solve problems and gain mastery through hands-on use of disciplinary tools and techniques (typically affiliated with visual arts, pottery, sculpture, photography etc.).