Improving Student Reflection in Experiential Learning Reports in Post-Secondary Institutions

  •  Rebecca Tiessen    


Work-integrated learning options—or experiential learning—(such as co-operative education, practicum placements, and community service learning/volunteer placements) offer much scope for enhancing educational opportunities for post-secondary students to learn about the workplace and to develop skills that may contribute to their future employability. However, community service learning (CSL) placements and co-operative education (co-op) programs, among other forms of experiential learning, offer so much more than the practical outcomes of skills-development and résumé-building. They provide a space for reflexivity on the student’s positionality in relation to privilege and national and/or global citizenship identity-formation; for critical reflection on ethical issues; for the promotion of social justice; and for praxis (the application of knowledge). The research presented in this article is an evaluation of two sets of experiential learning reflection assignments: co-op work-term reports (from 2nd, 3rd, 4th year and graduate students) and CSL papers (assignments submitted for a fourth year class I taught in winter 2016 on experiential learning). I examine the common themes and differences between these two sets of assignments with particular attention to the preparation and facilitation of learning in both instances, and the difference this preparation makes in terms of the student’s critical reflection.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-5250
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-5269
  • Started: 2012
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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