Experiential Learning

In an effort to expand and enhance experiential learning across the institution, DCAL coordinates resources to engage Dartmouth students, faculty, co-curricular educators, and community partners in the design and delivery of experiential learning opportunities.

About Experiential Learning

“Experiential education is a philosophy that informs many methodologies in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people's capacity to contribute to their communities.” - Association for Experiential Education

As a pedagogy, experiential learning requires students to actively and iteratively apply and reflect on the concepts, knowledge, and skills acquired in their course of study. It provides students with the opportunity to confront the uncertainties, complexities, and challenges of bringing theory into praxis, and translating ideas into social application.

At Dartmouth, experiential learning encompasses a wide range of activities, including but not limited to research opportunities, outdoor programs, service for social impact, entrepreneurship, art and performance, clinical placements, internships, project-based learning, and global experiences. In our model, experiential learning can be academic, co-curricular, or a hybrid. To be considered experiential learning, an activity must include the following components:

  • Students intentionally engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, or physically in a direct experience
  • Students have the opportunity to take initiative, make decisions, problem solve, and be accountable for the results
  • Students conceptualize and critically reflect on the experience

An experiential learning opportunity must be designed to promote student learning and development. At Dartmouth, experiential learning demonstrates a positive impact on students’ confidence and abilities to:

  • Innovate, take risks, and learn from failure
  • Work effectively with people from very different backgrounds, cultures, and life situations
  • Understand the importance of deep thinking and the power of the intellect to address the world’s most difficult issues
  • Effectively communicate about complex issues and objectives
  • Apply multiple disciplines and perspectives to a complex problem or opportunity

Remote Experiential Learning Mini-Grant

Locally, nationally, and globally, we see larger forces impacting our lives and our work. The global pandemic has already dramatically changed our landscape and is likely to do so for some time. The recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd show us once again that we have yet to fully come to terms with the legacy of slavery, racism, and white priviledge. As we grapple with these together, we also consider our role as educators and work to bring our students into these conversations. Through our courses and curricula we have the opportunity to help students engage intellectually both with us and with one another. 

As a pedagogy, experiential learning requires students to actively and iteratively apply and reflect on the concepts, knowledge, and skills acquired in their course of study. It provides students with the opportunity to confront the uncertainties, complexities, and challenges of bringing theory into praxis, and translating ideas into social application. Though remote learning may continue throughout the fall term, courses can still make experiential learning part of their course design. These activities might require course materials for projects, honoria for experts and class guests, software subscriptions, or any variety of costs.

DCAL is offering small one-time grants to support faculty in the development and implementation of experiential learning activities in current Dartmouth courses. Preference will be given for activities focused on community building and student interaction and/or examining/addressing systemic racism. The small pool of funds to support these courses became available with the cancellation of in-person events.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, starting immediately, until funding is exhausted. 

APPLY HERE

Applications should address the criteria below.

CRITERIA
Applicants must be faculty members teaching an approved Dartmouth course.
The proposed augmentation of the course must satisfy DCAL's definition of experiential learning by including the following components:

  • Students intentionally engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, or physically in a direct experience
  • Students have the opportunity to take initiative, make decisions, problem solve, and be accountable for the results
  • Students conceptualize and critically reflect on the experience

 
An experiential learning activity must be designed to promote student learning and development. Specifically, experiential learning at Dartmouth should demonstrate a positive impact on students' confidence and abilities to:

  • Innovate, take risks, and learn from failure
  • Work effectively with people from very different backgrounds, cultures, and life situations
  • Understand the importance of deep thinking and the power of the intellect to address the world's most difficult issues
  • Effectively communicate about complex issues and objectives
  • Apply multiple disciplines and perspectives to a complex problem or opportunity

For the benefit of dissemination to the Dartmouth community, applicants will share the story of their experiential learning activities in partnership with DCAL. 

Proposals should detail a budget with a maximum of $5,000.
 

Dartmouth's Experiential Learning Initiative

Experiential learning was already a prominent component of "the Dartmouth experience," both in and beyond the classroom, when the Experiential Learning Initiative began in 2015. In a 2014 survey, departments reported over 120 courses characterized by experiential learning taught by over 70 Dartmouth faculty. More than 70 co-curricular programs (including employment, internships, outreach, research, and service opportunities) reported experiential learning as a central component of the programs.

Since that time, the Experiential Learning Initiative has funded 42 pilot projects through its Seed Grant Program and formally engaged 100 faculty, 70 staff, and hundreds of students from 20 Arts and Science departments, seven co-curricular centers, and partnerships with Tuck, Thayer, and Geisel. The initiative has included the Seed Grant Program, Mini-Grant Program, Student Experiential Learning Fund, Stamps Scholars Program, Learning Fellows Program, and DELTA Summit, among other offerings. Impact extends beyond those who have received direct funding through the initiative to countless students, faculty, staff, and community members who have interacted in various ways with the courses, projects, performances, resources, conversations, and efforts connected with the initiative.

Learn more about past projects:

SEED GRANT PROJECTS

DELTA SUMMIT

Learn more about ongoing programs:

STUDENT EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING FUND (SELF)

STAMPS SCHOLARS PROGRAM

LEARNING FELLOWS PROGRAM