The Importance of Experiential Learning for Adults

The Importance of Experiential Learning for Adults

Are you looking for a fresh, impactful way to engage your adult learners and guarantee their success after graduation? Experiential learning, a modern alternative to traditional education, is the answer. 

Read on to learn more about how and why this pedagogy is so powerful.

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is an innovative educational pedagogy based on the theory that students learn best through active participation in real-world experiences. Work-integrated learning and project-based learning are two branches of experiential learning often included in today’s higher education curriculums.

Educational theorist David Kolb, the developer of the experiential learning theory, described it as a ‘cycle’ with four main points:

  • Abstract conceptualisation
  • Active experimentation
  • Concrete experience
  • Reflective observation

In other words, through the experiential learning cycle, students will research and actively experiment with a subject by engaging in real-world tasks. They will then reflect upon what they have learned.

Some examples of experiential learning activities universities could offer include:

  • Excursions to relevant places, such as building sites for architecture students or hospitals for nursing students,
  • Developing a smartphone app to solve a pressing real-world need,
  • Interactive simulations (i.e., flight simulations for aviation students).

By offering this type of education, educators will enjoy a more attentive classroom, better attendance and retention rates, and vastly improved employment outcomes for their students.

Adults using experiential learning methods

The Benefits of Offering Experiential Learning Experiences

Experiential learning experiences can have immense benefits for students, educators, and learning institutions. Several recent studies have identified the power of experiential learning in boosting employment outcomes, raising retention rates, and improving the higher education experience for students and educators alike.

Read on if you’re keen to learn more about how experiential learning experiences can benefit your adult learners.

Create real-world relevance

With traditional education, many students feel detached from the actual results of their work—they might receive a letter or percentage grade, but they’ll fail to see how their efforts affect the real world. Experiential learning tackles this problem head-on.

For example, a traditional law school project might involve researching and commenting on a recent case. After completing projects like these, students usually receive a grade reflecting how well they gathered information and presented their findings—but students might never know why researching and understanding the case is so important.

An experiential learning alternative to this project could involve a simulated courtroom environment. Students could see how witness statements, evidence presentations, and trials play out in real-time, gaining a stronger understanding of the genuine impact of their work.

Accelerate learning

With experiential learning, students also absorb information more readily than in a traditional classroom environment. Teaching complex topics becomes significantly easier for educators, especially with ongoing feedback and reflection between teacher and student.

As educators, we know practising a skill strengthens connections in the brain, making information easier to absorb. Since experiential learning involves hands-on practice and real-time problem solving, these connections strengthen faster, so students are ready to move onto more complex tasks sooner than with traditional education.

Provide opportunities for collaboration

You’re likely well aware of the benefits of collaboration between students, educators, peers, and mentors alike. Since experiential learning tasks are hands-on and ongoing, there are plenty of opportunities for students to connect with a much vaster range of people than they would in traditional schooling.


Want to learn more? Download the ‘Quality in Online Project-Based Learning’ white paper to see how top institutions are using experiential learning.


Why Your Adult Learners Need Experiential Education

Experiential learning has been popular in early education settings for a while now—but higher education institutions are starting to see the benefits and jump on board, too. In fact, experiential education is essential for educators hoping to improve employment outcomes and prepare their adult learners for the challenges of daily life.  

Now, let’s dive into some of the key reasons experiential education is so important for adult learners.

Real-world experiences

Through experiential education, you can deliver real-world experiences to your adult learners. As we touched on above, your learners will see the results of their work in real-time, which is highly motivating and encouraging for many students.

If boosting employment rates is your goal, offering real-world experiences is one of the best ways to go about it. Adult students can gain genuine, hands-on experience in their chosen field through adult learning experiences such as:

  • Work placements, whether in-person or virtual
  • Internships
  • Fieldwork
  • Volunteer work
  • Service-learning
  • Entrepreneurship

For example, a computer science student could enter a week-long internship or placement at a local web development company, helping the staff work on an ongoing project. This experience will give the student the applied knowledge and industry connections they’ll need to succeed in their future career.  

Opportunities for deep reflection

One of the four aspects of Kolb’s experiential learning model is ‘reflective observation’. This point is all about students developing observations about their experiences and reflecting on the learning process.

Deep reflection allows adult learners to make sense of the subject or material they have experimented with, especially concerning their unique interests, skills, and goals. Encouraging your students to reflect upon their work will empower them to take responsibility for their learning, improving their memory, motivation, and performance.

Active learning in experiential learning

Active experimentation

Another aspect of Kolb’s model is ‘active experimentation’. This point involves students using theories to make decisions and solve real-world problems.

For example, an urban planning student might identify a problem with bus schedules in their community. To actively solve this problem, the student could work in a group to develop a plan for change or collect signatures to deliver to a local government authority.

Encouraging your students to make active choices will deepen their understanding of the topic and significantly improve their information recall.

Leadership and collaboration

Leadership and collaboration skills are essential for success in adult life, regardless of a student’s chosen career path. Whether they’re supervising a team or working on a household budget with their partner, your students will benefit from the communication skills experiential learning for adults can help build.

Suppose a student’s project involves raising money for a local charity. In that case, they can build leadership skills by presenting their fundraising plan to the community and actively promoting the event. They’ll build collaboration skills in much the same way—through communicating with their fundraising team and customers.  

Initiative and accountability

While experiential learning involves plenty of teamwork and collaboration, ultimately, it’s a self-driven pedagogy. Under the guidance of educators and peers, students take responsibility for their learning, making decisions and solving problems independently.

When students lose points on an essay or assignment, they might not understand where they went wrong. As educators, we can try to instruct students on how to improve, but nothing can beat the benefits of seeing the real-time ramifications of their self-directed learning.

When students take accountability for mistakes and problems as they occur, they can learn how to solve them. This experience will give your adult learners the confidence and skills they need to tackle problems in their future lives.

Why Experiential Learning is the Future for Higher Education

In today’s rapidly developing society, higher education institutions and educators must learn to best serve their students. Here are some key reasons why experiential learning is the future for higher education.

Bridge the gap between theory and practice

Many higher education institutions still teach theoretical skills without applying them to real-world scenarios. But studies have shown that bridging the gap between adult learning theory and practice is critical for success.

According to a 2009 study of medical students, learning and retaining the new skill of endotracheal intubation was significantly easier for experiential education students than guided education students. At three months, 64.5% of experiential education students completed their task, while only 36.9% of guided students were successful. The experiential success rate for experiential learning students grew to 86% at 12 months.

Personalise learning experiences

You can personalise your students’ learning experiences to suit their unique interests and skills through experiential learning. There’s no more standardised testing where every student works on the same task. Instead, you can call upon Kolb’s learning style model to discover projects and activities that will ignite your students’ curiosities and motivate them to succeed.

As higher education institutions recognise the Kolb learning styles and see the benefits of personalising tasks, retention rates and employability rankings will soar.

Prepare adult students for success in work and life

Universities hoping to boost employability rankings and provide their students with a clear path to success will benefit from offering adult experiential learning.

As educators, there’s no better feeling than seeing your hard work and guidance pay off. By offering experiential learning experiences, you can help build the hard and soft skills your learners will need to find employment and tackle challenges they may face in their daily lives.

Implementing experiential learning with adults

Implementing Experiential Learning with Practera

Practera’s experiential learning platform allows educators to deliver powerful learning experiences that make a real difference. Using the platform’s convenient and practical features, you’ll be able to engage, encourage, and drive your adult learners to succeed.

Some of Practera’s key features for educators include:

  • Streamlined communications between students, educators, and employers
  • An extensive, pre-built template library for instantly delivering impactful learning experiences
  • Detailed analytics displaying your students’ performance in a single pane
  • Automated peer feedback loops
  • Simplified progress and performance tracking

To get started with Practera’s innovative platform, start a conversation with one of our friendly representatives today or download our white paper to learn more.


Boost your skills and employability with Practera and learn more about the importance of experiential learning today.


Best Skills to Teach Your Learners in 2022 to Increase Their Employability

Best Skills to Learn in 2022 to Increase Employability

Why is skill-building so important for future-proofing careers?

In today’s world, the way we work is rapidly shifting. With new technologies arriving faster than we can count, how can we help our students succeed?

The answer is education. By constantly developing new skills and building upon existing ones, students can stay ahead of the game and secure a rewarding, long-term career.

But which employability skills do employees of tomorrow need? For educators, is offering a basic understanding of the technological landscape enough, or do we need to instil more specific knowledge? We’ll highlight the best things to teach your learners in this article.

What skills are students currently learning?

Today’s educational institutions are drilling down on AI, digital marketing, and cloud-based technological skills more than ever before. Tech-heavy jobs related to everything from UX design to blockchain development are rising at unprecedented rates.

But 2022’s best skills to learn aren’t limited to technology. The need for diverse social and emotional skills is also on the rise. Successful employees of tomorrow must have a solid understanding of how the world works, the unique needs of the people around them, and what they want to do with their own lives.

What are the top skills you should learn for the future?

So, with tech-based jobs on the rise and employees needing to interact in new, diverse ways, what are the most profitable skills to teach our students? Or rather, what is the most useful skill to learn?

As automation takes over—along with evolving working arrangements like remote and hybrid positions—modern technological skills are critical. Students will need to explore data analytics, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and other related paths.

Soft skills, like interpersonal intelligence and communication, are just as (if not more!) important, regardless of the student’s chosen career path. 

In the next part of this article, we’ll dive deeper into the top skills to learn for future employability, starting with some key hard skills before discussing the soft skills you’ll need to back them up.


Want to learn more? Download the ‘Quality in Online Project-Based Learning’ white paper to see how top institutions are using experiential learning.


Hard Skills

Hard tech skills are increasingly sought after in today’s technology-driven world. By imparting these future-ready skills in our students, we’ll prepare them well for decades of stable employment and career growth.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

If there’s one answer to the question, ‘Which skill is best for the future?’, it’s AI. 

Artificial Intelligence is a branch of computer science dealing with the design and development of intelligent machines. American cognitive and computer scientist John McCarthy first coined the term in 1956 in a proposal written for the Dartmouth conference.

While originally a distant dream, AI is now an integral tool in how we live and work, covering everything from virtual assistant technologies like Siri and Alexa to the intelligent algorithms driving social media feeds.

Today, AI is an essential part of many commercial and industrial applications, including speech recognition, robotics, web search engines, translation, and medical diagnosis. Regardless of their field, AI skills will play a driving role in any student’s future career success.

Coding

Coding is one of the top skills to learn online today, with many free online course options available. It’s a critical foundational skill applicable to many jobs, from front-end development to data science and beyond. Among other benefits, coding skills allow students to create and manage digital content, make changes to websites and apps, and automate tasks.

According to the Australian Government’s Job Outlook website, software and application programming jobs anticipate ‘very strong’ future growth, with the number of Australian workers expected to reach 199,800 by 2025.

Cloud computing

Cloud computing is an approach to storing and accessing data, applications, and services over a network. The system has become essential in today’s world, with modern businesses delivering critical communications and storing data in the cloud.

Skills in cloud computing can lead students to several high-paying and stable positions, including:

As more and more businesses adopt cloud computing services, demand for the skill is sure to rise. Students can build these skills by pursuing an IT or computer science degree or engaging in certification programs through vendors like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft.

hard skills that increase employability

Blockchain

Blockchain is a new technology with a decentralised, secure, and immutable architecture. It uses the power of cryptography to generate trust and accountability without needing a centralised authority or third party on-board.

Blockchain technology has revolutionised how people transact, store data, and exchange value. Soon, blockchain technology could play a key role in every industry that deals with transactions or data storage, from engineering to healthcare and beyond—making it one of the best technical skills to learn for career success.

UX (user experience) design

UX design is the process of defining the customer experience, gathering requirements, and developing a design to meet those needs. It is an integral part of any project that involves digital products or services.

UX designers understand how users interact with a product and the improvements necessary to drive better engagement. They have a strong, holistic view of the user’s environment and create high-octane solutions to fit the user’s needs.

UX designers need to think creatively, work collaboratively, understand different perspectives, and empathise with their users. These are all skills that you can learn through education or experience—and they’re also skills employers actively look for when hiring new employees.

Soft Skills

Hard skills are fantastic for helping students enter growing STEM industries—but soft skills are still as important as ever. Teaching these skills through hands-on experiences and projects will help your students impress employers and manage any challenges they might face in the workplace.   

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to question information and form an independent opinion. Employers want workers who can think critically because it demonstrates intelligence, creativity, and strong problem-solving skills. Thinking critically goes hand-in-hand with learning agility, another essential employability skill that involves adapting to new challenges.

Today and in the decades to come, critical thinking skills will always be in-demand. Industries from engineering and mathematics to education and healthcare can benefit from employees who can actively conceptualise and apply knowledge.

All in all, there are many reasons why critical thinking skills are essential for the business world—they help us think more creatively, solve problems more effectively, and make better decisions.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence describes skills that help a person understand and manage emotions—both their own and those around them. Emotional intelligence includes skills like:

Building these skills is essential if you’re looking to boost your employability. Doing so will help you to better understand yourself and the people around you, leading to stronger working relationships, more effective teamwork, and a clearer path to reaching your career goals.

soft skills that increase employability

Communication

Verbal, non-verbal, and written communication skills are crucial in the workplace. Whether you’re public speaking, meeting with your boss, demonstrating digital marketing skills, or answering a client’s questions, you’ll need to communicate effectively to succeed.

A workplace without open communication will never function smoothly. Regardless of their experience or position within the company, all employees should feel comfortable and confident in making their opinions known. That’s why all learning institutions should instil communication skills in their students to elevate their chances of success.

Leadership

Leadership skills develop through experience and exposure to different leadership styles. Universities and other educational institutions can help students build this skill through hands-on opportunities like project-based learning, internships, work placements, and even online courses.

Here are some of the benefits of having leaders in the workplace:

A leader needs to be confident, persuasive and inspiring. They’ll have the confidence and skill needed to motivate their team, lead ethically, and empower their employees. These traits are necessary for any company to thrive in today’s competitive environment.

How Practera can help

Practera’s experiential learning platform helps educators deliver transformative educational experiences for students, helping them develop the hard and soft skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace. 

Through our innovative platform, educators and institutions can instill these critical hard and soft skills through work-integrated and project-based learning programs at a low cost and at scale. These hands-on assignments offer a powerful way for educators to help students build employability skills, increase retention rates, and improve employability rankings for universities.

Along with connecting students, educational institutions, and employers, the platform offers a vast range of additional benefits, including peer review features, adaptive learning pathways, in-depth analytics, and detailed performance tracking.

To get started with Practera, download our white paper or get in touch with our team of experts to find out more about how our platform can help your students succeed.


Boost your skills and employability with Practera and learn more about the importance of experiential learning today.


Get Your Students Industry-Ready with Online Project-Based Learning

Get Your Students Industry-Ready with Online Project-Based Learning

In today’s digitally-driven world, educators are discovering new ways to deliver experiential learning experiences such as project-based learning.

Through online tools such as video conferencing software, messaging apps, and simulated work environments, educators can still help students become industry-ready through project-based educational experiences.

Find out more about the power of online PBL and how it can help your students succeed in the working world in this article.

What is project-based learning?

Project-based learning (PBL or PJBL) is an educational pedagogy in which students apply knowledge and skills to various real-world applications.

The goal behind PBL is to teach students how to solve problems and make decisions relevant to their daily lives, rather than simply memorising facts. It emphasises the process of learning (such as research, analysis, and reflection) over the final result.

In a PBL environment, teachers are facilitators who guide students through identifying a topic, planning a solution, exercising research, and analysing the results. As educators, we can encourage students to take risks and take creative approaches to find solutions, helping them build essential skills for success in the working world.

Different types of project-based learning

Educators can deliver project-based learning in a variety of ways. The idea is to keep students engaged with a relevant driving question and in-depth research and reflection.

Some popular approaches to project-based learning include:

  • Action Research: Students take on the role of researcher and conduct an action research study related to a real-life problem in their community.
  • Case Study: Students work on a simulated case study or live case assigned by an organisation or company.
  • Community Action Project: Students identify a problem in their community and work with local organisations to create solutions.
  • Course Project: A student creates a course-related project, often with other students, designed to teach them about a timely topic.

Want to reduce student costs by 90%? Download the ‘Quality in Online Project-Based Learning’ white paper to see how top institutions are doing it.


Let’s say a student is strong in science and mathematics, with a keen interest in robotics and future technologies. As educators, we can draw upon these strengths and deliver highly-applicable learning experiences to benefit students and encourage their growth.

For example, the student could identify a problem in their community—like potholes or graffiti—and design a robot to solve that problem. There would be no need to build the robot, since the learning stems from the ability to actively identify, research, and reflect upon an issue, which students can achieve through digital tools.

Project based learning

Why is Project-Based Online Learning important for students?

Project-based learning offers many benefits for students, from helping them succeed in work and life to building their self-confidence. Educators will also see many benefits, from better classroom attentiveness to higher attendance and retention rates.

Let’s start by talking about the key differences between experiential education (i.e. project-based and work-integrated learning) and traditional educational approaches.

In a traditional educational environment, educators deliver information to students. This delivery normally comes in lectures, tutorials, or worksheets, where students must absorb and retain verbal or visual instruction.

While this approach is effective for some students, it doesn’t consider the broad range of individual learning styles, skills, and interests. These styles, as outlined by experiential learning theorist David Kolb, are:

  • Diverging (feeling and watching)
  • Assimilating (thinking and watching)
  • Converging (thinking and doing)
  • Accommodating (feeling and doing)

The assimilating learning style is best suited to traditional education, since these students learn well through readings, lectures, and reflection. However, this leaves out three other styles encompassing millions of students around the globe.

That’s where project-based learning comes in. With PBL and work-integrated learning, students choose educational experiences related to their unique learning styles and interests. For example, a student with a diverging learning style—which focuses on idea generation and working with others—would benefit immensely from a community project like raising money for a local charity.

This focus on self-directed, tailored learning boosts retention rates, improves student engagement, and higher university employability rankings.

How does project-based learning online ensure students are industry-ready?

PBL is a fantastic way to build hard and soft skills to prepare your students for future employment. As an educator, you can deliver PBL experiences directly related to each student’s desired career path, even without them needing to step into a physical workplace.

Exposure to a collaborative environment

Teamwork is a vital skill across industries. PBL introduces students to the benefits and challenges of collaborative learning, teaching them to work better in a team and embrace different perspectives. For example, students could form a group and assign rules to each member based on their skills and interests, helping them learn more about their roles within a team.

Solving real-world problems

Many students can more deeply understand a subject by applying their knowledge to real-life situations. This application doesn’t have to happen in physical space—but their approach does need to solve a real-world problem.

For example, a student could identify a budding issue in their community—such as a lack of recreation—and use their problem-solving skills to research and design a solution, like a new park or sporting arena.

Student critical thinking using project-based learning

Developing critical thinking skills

Critical thinking considers all available information, both favourable and unfavourable, to make an informed judgment about the topic at hand. People who think critically will look at the information supporting their beliefs and identify evidence that might contradict their beliefs or point out errors in their reasoning.

PBL will help your students become more critical, agile thinkers thanks to the varied perspectives they’ll need to research and reflect upon. A driving point behind PBL is to offer varied student learning experiences, providing a perfect foundation for building critical thinking skills.

Cross-cultural experiences

When educational institutions restrict students to a single learning environment, their perspectives and understanding of the world around them become restrained. Students must have a broad worldview to succeed in the workplace.

Students are encouraged to explore new ideas and work with people they may not meet in a traditional classroom environment through project-based learning. In the online space, these experiences could include Zoom meetings with industry spearheads from varied cultural backgrounds.

Building communication skills

Project-based learning is a fantastic way to help students build written, verbal, and non-verbal communication skills. PBL’s emphasis on teamwork is particularly important here, helping students explore different communication styles and interact with a range of unique personalities.

Communication remains vital for distance learning. Through virtual meetings, connecting via messaging apps, forums, and online instruction, students will learn how to interact in the online world—an essential skill for the growing remote workplace.

Accessing feedback and reflection

Feedback and reflection are some of the most important aspects of learning, helping students identify and understand areas for improvement. Recognising mistakes is one of the most powerful ways to learn.

In the same way, reflection and feedback are integral parts of the working world, and students will need to learn how to accept and use feedback to succeed. An applicant who can readily (and positively) receive feedback will stand out to all employers, regardless of their industry—reflecting well on your ability as a teacher and leader.

Students becoming industry-ready

How universities can implement online project-based learning

While PBL learning is often described as ‘hands-on’, learning can continue outside of a physical environment. Your students will benefit immensely if the PBL projects involve dynamic, meaningful, flexible learning and sustained inquiry.

Some online project-based learning examples include:

  • Students set health and wellness goals for themselves, creating and following plans to achieve them and recording their progress. Students then reflect upon their experience on their health journey and identify potential improvements.
  • Students devise a business idea related to their unique interests and skills and create a business plan. Students use online collaboration tools to bring their idea to life.

One surefire way to deliver effective online PBL experiences to your students is through a dedicated platform like Practera.

Online project-based learning with Practera

Practera’s digital experiential learning platform makes delivering virtual PBL experiences, such as internships and action projects, easier than ever.

Via the platform, educators can connect students with industry leaders, helping them access invaluable guidance and advice within the digital landscape. Thanks to the platform’s engaging interface, integrated support tools, and AI-powered analytics, delivery is seamless, robust, and more efficient than ever—leaving you more time to focus on your students and helping them achieve their goals.

To begin, choose a proven online PBL experience from Practera’s in-built template library featuring over 100 real-world projects—or craft a unique experience using our flexible authoring tools. However you choose to engage your students, they’ll benefit from Practera’s 360-degree feedback, adaptive learning pathways, and chat-based collaboration tools.

To learn more about how Practera can help you deliver powerful project-based learning online experiences for your students, download our whitepaper or start a conversation with our team today.


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Experiential Learning in Higher Education: Why It Works

Experiential Learning in Higher Education: Why It Works

What Is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is an innovative educational pedagogy that embraces action, experimentation, and personal reflection. It sees the learning process and its outcomes not as two separate issues, but as interwoven parts of a whole.

Educational theorist David Kolb published his first Experiential Learning Model (ELM) in 1984. It revolves around four key elements:

– Concrete or practical experience,

– Reflection and observation,

– Creation of abstract concepts based on these observations and reflections,

– Testing these new concepts.

Today’s higher education administrators are making experiential approaches like work-integrated learning more prominent in university curricula. Why? Because by doing so, students will gain vital skills for their future careers and everyday life.

Is experiential learning suitable for higher education?

Experiential learning in higher education settings is tremendously effective. Rather than sitting through lectures and exams, students gain applied, direct experience with industries and environments related to their faculty.

Through this hands-on approach, students become more engaged with the subject matter, learn more effectively, and build life and career skills to prepare them for the world after graduation. Higher education institutions and educators also benefit from increased retention rates, better engagement, and improved career outcomes.

Experiential learning in higher education - student studying

What does experiential learning activities look like for university students?

Experiential learning in higher education can be either hands-on or virtual, making it accessible even for institutions unable to arrange in-person visits or physical learning sessions.

For example, IT students can benefit greatly from building a computer, placing, and connecting each part one by one. But many universities can’t afford hundreds of systems for students to work on. Instead, institutions can invest in virtual software that simulates computer building, offering students a similar experience at a lower cost.

Project-based learning is another way universities can offer experiential teaching. Some examples include:

– Fieldwork,

– Service learning,

– Studying abroad,

– Volunteering at a local not-for-profit organisation,

– Participating in a business accelerator program,

Interning for a local small business,

– Growing a student garden.

Which students benefit most from experiential based learning? Is it suitable for all faculties?

Experiential learning in higher education aims to help students engage more deeply with the content while discovering new skills, interests, and abilities. This type of learning is especially beneficial for students who struggle with traditional education.

We can explain this concept better with David Kolb’s learning style model, which are:

– Diverging, i.e., feeling and watching,

– Assimilating, i.e., watching and thinking,

– Converging, i.e., doing and thinking,

– Accommodating, i.e., doing and feeling.

Students who fall into the ‘Diverging’ and ‘Assimilating’ categories benefit more from traditional learning approaches, which involve observation. They may learn best through idea generation (i.e., brainstorming), group work, verbal or written explanation, and personal feedback. Students in these categories can still benefit from challenging and expanding their learning styles through experiential learning.

Students with the ‘Converging’ and ‘Accommodating’ learning styles will benefit most from experiential learning. These students enjoy finding practical solutions and prefer hands-on experiences.

These learning styles exist across all fields of study—there is no limit to experiential learning’s many benefits.


Boost your skills and employability with Practera and learn more about the importance of experiential learning today.


Benefits to Students

Now, let’s discuss some key benefits experiential learning in higher education offers students.

Practical use of subject matter

Students gather plenty of information through lectures, watching videos, attending workshops, and taking quizzes. However, experiential learning in higher education has a clear advantage over these approaches—it drives a deeper understanding of concepts, demonstrating how they apply to real life situations.

For example, a student studying engineering could learn some skills through traditional testing—but imagine how much more engaged they’d be if they could work with a physical model, such as a gearbox, and manipulate its parts with their hands. By observing, thinking, and planning their interactions with the gearbox, students will learn a great deal more than they could by taking notes.

Deal with complex new situations

Experiential learning in higher education is not just about choosing experiences that interest students—it’s about actively engaging with difficult or complex situations to learn from them. By taking on tasks students may find intimidating or scary, they can develop coping strategies to prepare them for the working world’s many challenges.

Learn new skills

Through experiential education, students can build skills relevant to their future careers and daily lives. Not only will they learn more about their industry, but they’ll also develop essential soft skills such as:

– Teamwork and communication,

– Interpersonal skills,

– Self-confidence,

– Initiative,

– Conflict resolution,

– Leadership qualities,

– Time management,

Learning agility,

– And much more.

Engaging and robust learning design

With Practera, students can experience the best practice templates, custom authoring & library tools. They have the freedom to design and curate their own exclusive program portfolio, whether this be for internships, team projects, accelerator, mentoring, or skills credentialing. Through powerful AI technology powered by real-time analytics, the platform ensures their experiential learning is efficient with seamless delivery and feedback loops as well as personalised.

Experiential learning in higher education - students learning

Benefits to employers

As part of experiential learning programs, many students take on internships, service learning experience, or work placements with local businesses. By participating in these programs, employers enjoy many benefits.

One example is the pair of fresh eyes a student can bring to a business. Many industry stalwarts become so absorbed in their workplace’s everyday practices; they may miss potential changes or additions that could take their business to the next level. These diverse perspectives are exactly what a student can bring!

Benefits to higher education institutions

Institutions also benefit enormously from implementing experiential learning in higher education settings.

One of the greatest benefits for higher education institutions is the rise in student engagement and retention rates. Learning outcomes shoot through the roof when educators can gather an entire class’s attention—and hold it indefinitely. This rise will see immense improvements to an institution’s employment outcomes.

How can higher education institutions offer their students work-integrated learning?

Offering work-integrated learning to students is easy, especially with Practera’s dedicated experiential learning platform. Using this innovative software, institutions can design, deliver, and monitor all kinds of projects, including:

– Internships where students plan, reflect, and seek feedback on tasks

Work placements with practical and experiential learning

– Industry projects and assessments for students to reflect and improve their skills

– Work simulations that engage students in simulated scenarios to build skills

– Mentoring innovation accelerators to develop and validate ideas

– Credentialing programs where educators review and apply credential competency evidence against a skills framework

Experiential learning in higher education - experiential learning

The benefits of using Practera for your WIL programs

Monitoring progress and outcomes

Practera’s platform makes offering experiential learning in higher education a breeze

You can see:

Participant engagement stats,

– Project progress,

– Student reflections and feedback,

– Student questions and educator responses.

This information can help educators gather a 360-degree view of each students’ progress from one touchpoint, so they can offer tailored and timely support.

Quality feedback to enhance learning outcomes

Using Practera’s innovative platform, students, educators, and employers can connect and communicate in one place. Students can receive highly personalised feedback from educators, peers, and industry leaders, helping them deeply understand their progress.
Even better, you can offer feedback across every project stage, unlike traditional learning, where students simply receive a final grade. In this way, the feedback students receive is incredibly valuable and will genuinely enhance their educational outcomes.

Easily assess educational outcomes

It’s simpler than ever to assess educational outcomes with Practera’s experiential learning platform—educators can see beyond the traditional confines of letter grades and percentages and pinpoint where students excel or fall behind.

For example, you can set up assessments and analyse student performance down to a tee through the assessment management module. This way, you can discover how your students have responded and understood where they might need extra support.

Advanced technology enhances user experience

Practera’s advantaged technology makes the user experience better for students, educators, industry representatives, and institutions alike. The platform’s innovative gamification feature, for example, keeps students engaged by making learning more exciting and achievement oriented.

You can also use Practera’s chat-based collaboration system to stay connected across the board—you won’t need to worry about important information getting lost in a sea of emails ever again.

Discover the difference today

Ready to get started with Practera? Discover how experiential learning in higher education could benefit your institution, students, and educators by downloading our white paper today—or connect with us online to chat about how we can help your students excel.


Want to reduce student costs by 90%? Download the ‘Quality in Online Project-Based Learning’ white paper to see how top institutions are doing it.


Boost Graduate Employability with Experiential Learning

Boost Graduate Employability with Experiential Learning

Are you looking to boost graduate employment outcomes within your learning institution? Experiential learning is the answer.

But—you might be wondering—what is experiential learning, and how does it boost graduate employability? Is there any proof of a connection between the two?

We’ll answer these burning questions and more in this article. 

What is graduate employability?

Graduate employability is the ability of a student to find a job following graduation. More specifically, it is the degree to which students can use their skills and knowledge to find work.

A range of factors can affect graduate employability rates, including economic conditions, cost of living, job availability, graduates career prospects, and university prestige.

So, how can universities help students find employment after graduation with all these factors to consider? And at the same time, what can students do to improve their chances at securing work?

It’s all about employability skills.

With relevant skills, knowledge, and experience under their belt, students are well-equipped for finding work after graduation. 

Some examples of employability skills include:

One of the best ways universities can instil employability skills in their students is through experiential learning. We’ll talk more about this educational approach in the next section of this article.


Boost graduate employability with Practera and learn more about the importance of experiential learning today.


What is experiential learning?

Experiential learning is a teaching method based on the idea that learning happens through experience. While it may seem like a fancy phrase for “learning by doing”, the approach is a proven educational philosophy surrounding the concept that students learn best when engaged in active, hands-on, meaningful, and relevant activities.

While you can apply experiential learning to many aspects of life, it’s becoming increasingly popular in higher education settings.

To help you better understand what experiential learning is, let’s walk through some examples.

  1. Architectural students are learning about topography. Rather than researching the subject online, the students visit a real building site and physically take topographical land measurements using surveying equipment. In this way, the students gain real, hands-on experience with the subject, have higher retention rates, and will have a better chance at finding an architecture graduate job.
  2. Art students are learning about anatomy. Instead of studying from a book, the students take life drawing classes and actively reflect upon and receive real-time feedback as they paint. In turn, the students learn to think critically and manage feedback about their work.

Recent studies have found that experiential learning and employment outcomes are deeply connected. For example, a 2014 study found experiential learning enhanced employability for business and management students, while a 2019 study found experiential learning improves employability, progression, and prospects of engineering graduates.

Boost Graduate Employability with Experiential Learning - Collaborative workspace

Ensuring the degrees you offer enable graduate employability

Regardless of a student’s course of study, there are ways to implement experiential learning. The examples in the section above are only two of the endless options available for universities hoping to improve graduate outcomes.

Ideally, the degrees your institution offers should provide students with real-world experiences relevant to their chosen careers. Of course, not all students studying the same course will have the same future plans—that’s why it’s critical to involve students in curriculum planning as much as possible.

With experiential learning approaches, students choose activities and topics relevant to their interests and preferred field. In this way, students absorb and retain information more readily and are equipped with their skills to find work after graduation.

We’ll go into more detail about how your institution can achieve these goals in the next section.

3 ways universities can boost graduate employability

Let’s talk about three key ways universities can boost graduate employability.

1. Make your courses workforce-relevant

Many university courses focus on academic skills without clarifying how the skills relate to working life. To create employable graduates, institutions need to build job-ready skills and prepare students for the reality of the workforce.

One of the best ways to achieve this is through work-integrated learning (WIL), a branch of experiential education. Through WIL, students gain on-the-job experience through volunteering, internships, job simulations, or other forms of hands-on work.

2. Provide a dedicated portal to jump-start careers

Providing a dedicated portal is a fantastic way for universities and students to take control of employment outcomes. This portal could be a learning and employment hub where students can view relevant jobs for graduates, brush up on their hard and soft skills, and connect with employers, educators, and peers.

Practera’s experiential learning platform is an example of a dedicated portal that can help students jump-start their careers. Among other features, the platform streamlines connections between students and employers, helping them network and build lasting working relationships.

3. Double down on lifelong learning

Learning shouldn’t end when students graduate. It’s critical to instil an interest in lifelong learning within every student, helping them understand that upskilling is essential for career success.

The best way universities can achieve this is by giving students control and autonomy over their work, allowing them to guide their approach to their studies and gain confidence in their ability to learn new skills.

How experiential learning can boost graduate employability

There are two main approaches within the experiential learning sphere—work-integrated learning, which we discussed above, and project-based learning. These two approaches can boost graduate employability in distinct ways.

Through WIL, students gain skills deeply relevant to their chosen careers. They gain real, hands-on experience with their field of work and can network with industry experts and leaders.

On the other hand, through project-based learning (which involves engaging in hands-on, long-term projects), students can build skills relevant to work and everyday life. These abilities assist in preparing students for challenges they may face as they enter the working world and make them more appealing to potential employers.

Boost Graduate Employability with Experiential Learning - Graduate working

How work-integrated learning works

Work-integrated learning is a type of experiential learning that allows students to get hands-on experience in their field of study. It also provides them with a chance to connect what they are learning in the classroom and what they are experiencing at work.

Universities can offer WIL through:

Work-integrated learning for graduate employment

Implementing work-integrated learning to improve graduate employment outcomes is simple. It’s all about offering the right kind of WIL depending on the student’s preferred career path.

For example, engineering students could benefit best from fieldwork, while students seeking computer science graduate jobs might prefer work placements or internships. You should also consider each student’s unique learning style and offer opportunities to suit.

For help with choosing the best WIL opportunities to enhance employment outcomes, an experiential learning platform like Practera can help. 

How Practera can help learning institutions deliver powerful experiential learning opportunities

Practera offers a broad range of useful features through its dedicated learning platform, benefiting students, employers, institutions, and educators alike. Institutions can connect students with industry leaders and authentic experiences, projects, and internships through the platform.

Delivery is simple. Educators can choose from premade templates built around the best experiential learning opportunities or create a custom experience through Practera’s flexible configuration capabilities.

The platform also offers additional features like adaptive learning pathways, assessment management tools, peer review features, analytics, and much more, making it easier than ever for institutions to boost employment outcomes through valuable learning experiences.

Kick start your experiential journey in 2022 with Practera today. To find out more, connect with our team for a discussion, undertake a demo or download our white paper here

How to Prepare Graduates for Employment in Our Ever-Changing World

How to Prepare Graduates for Employment in Our Ever-Changing World

In today’s world, the way we work is rapidly changing. With modern technologies on the rise, the growth of remote working, and ever-evolving global expectations, how can higher education institutions help graduates succeed?

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can prepare graduates for employment and help students achieve their goals as they enter the working world. We’ll also discuss the connection between experiential education methods—like project-based learning—and graduate employability.

Teaching employability

The skills, knowledge, and experience students need to find employment after graduation are changing. More than ever, employers are seeking graduates who can think critically, solve problems creatively, develop innovative strategies, and communicate with confidence.

A recent study found that, across industries, employers want graduates to have a range of employability skills, including:

But as educators and higher education institutions, how can we impart these important values in students? How can we ensure students fully absorb our teachings and carry them into working life?

How to prepare graduates for employment - student learning

Keys to success

With the rise of the gig economy and changing demands, many students graduate from college without jobs in their field. This can be a scary time for students, but it is also an opportunity for educators to take control and help scholars develop skills that will bring them career success.

The number one way you can help students is by preparing them with the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to break into their chosen industry. In the next section of this article, we’ll highlight eight effective ways to boost employment outcomes within your institution


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8 ideas to help get your students job-ready before graduation

1. Research the industry landscape and know your goals

Before students start applying for work following graduation, they should set clear, actionable goals. They should also know as much about the current industry landscape as they can—such as the latest trends, news, and practices—before they begin their search.

When graduates demonstrate they have completed in-depth research, it shows employers they are:

  • Passionate about what they do,
  • Skilled in their industry,
  • Understand which role or company would suit their skills best,
  • Serious about starting a career.

Similarly, setting goals improves a graduate’s job prospects because it helps them focus on what they hope to achieve and gives them a clear path to follow. Graduates keenly aware of where they’re heading enter their field with heightened confidence and a stronger drive to succeed.

2. Do some targeted volunteering

Volunteering offers students a fantastic opportunity to build up their CVs, develop transferable skills, and gain experience in their chosen field. Soon-to-be graduates also enjoy the chance to network and build an early repertoire with industry leaders and experts.

As a bonus, volunteering allows students to give back to their community and demonstrate their passion and dedication to potential employers.

3. Write a tailored resume
Today’s employers look for candidates with resumes tailored specifically to the description. Explicitly, employers seek applicants who are:

  • Committed to the job they are applying for,
  • Experienced in their chosen field (either through volunteer work, passion projects, or internships),
  • Knowledgeable about the company,
  • Aware of the job’s unique requirements.

A tailored resume helps a graduate stand out from the crowd and is more likely to persuade employers to request an interview. Especially in highly competitive fields, it’s not enough for graduates to send a default resume off to multiple employers—they’ll need to know how to craft a relevant application for each position, insightfully repeating keywords and phrases included in the job listing. 

How to prepare graduates for employment - students learning

4. Take advantage of career services

There are a host of reasons why students should take advantage of their university’s careers service. First of all, they’re there to help! Through existing networks and insider relationships, a careers service can connect students with relevant job opportunities and provide access to invaluable tools like:

  • CV reviews,
  • Interview coaching,
  • Employability and skills analysis,
  • Extra education and courses,
  • Internship or work placement opportunities.

As educational leaders, we should encourage students to use these services as often as possible to maximise their chances of career success.

5. Internships often lead to work

Work-integrated learning opportunities such as internships are a powerful way to help students find a paid position following graduation. Not only do these opportunities allow students to explore different career paths and gain valuable experience, but they can also lead directly into permanent work.

Some other unbeatable benefits of internships, whether virtual or in-person, include:

  • Students can gain a clearer idea of what kind of work they’d like to do in the future,
  • Students gain industry experience and transferable skills,
  • Students participate in projects to add to their resume or portfolio,
  • Students make connections with leaders in their field.

6. Start networking early

It’s never too early for students to start networking while studying at university or college. The earlier a future graduate starts, the better prepared they’ll be when it comes time to look for a job—so make sure your pupils are well aware of the immense benefits.

Educators and higher education institutions can promote networking by providing access to work-integrated learning programs such as internships and volunteer work. These programs are fantastic for connecting students with industry spearheads and helping them grow their networking skills.

7. Be social media savvy

In today’s digital age, graduates need to understand the importance of social media. Social media savviness is an essential skill regardless of a student’s chosen career path—be it HR, marketing, or electrical engineering!

But why do today’s employers so seek social media skills?

Well, today, social media is the best way for people and businesses to stay connected, share information, and swap services. Also, many businesses now use social media for internal communications and sharing critical information with employees.

So, to make sure your students are ready for a digitally-driven workplace, include social media studies in all course outlines. 

How to prepare graduates for employment - student learning remotely from home.

8. Develop a plan of attack

Without guidance, students might apply to every job they come across, regardless of their skills and qualifications. This approach can lead to disappointment and discouragement down the line.

Instead, encourage your students to discover their strengths, decide which industry they’d like to work in, and apply for graduate positions that align with their plan of attack. This method is more likely to lead to success and help students build confidence throughout their job search.

Experiential learning is the process of acquiring knowledge and skills through hands-on, relevant experience. It focuses on long-term projects and tasks related directly to a student’s skills, interests, and chosen career path, including internships, class projects, field research, work placements, volunteer opportunities, and more.

This type of learning prepares graduates for employment because it helps them:

  • Develop transferable skills,
  • Learn more about their industry,
  • Gain confidence in their field,
  • Meet industry experts, 
  • Gather valuable and pertinent experience,
  • Discover their strengths and interests.

Executing experiential learning methods within your institution is guaranteed to help prepare graduates for employment in the modern world. The quickest and easiest way to achieve this is through an experiential learning platform like Practera.

How Practera can help

Practera’s innovative platform helps educators deliver broad educational experiences covering work-integrated, project-based, and experiential learning. Using the platform, teachers in the higher education sector can connect students with employers, industry leaders, internship opportunities, and much more, helping bridge the gap between graduation and stable employment.

Practera’s platform offers range of instrumental features to make experiential learning delivery seamless, including:

  • Flexible powerful and customisation,
  • Comprehensive template libraries,
  • Whitelabeling tools,
  • 360-degree feedback,
  • AI learning assistants,
  • In-depth analytics,
  • Chat-based communication,
  • Much more.

To learn more about what Practera’s platform can do for you, download our white paper or contact our connect for a discussion today.


Learn more about Experiential Learning and how real-world experiences can better prepare students for employment 


Using Experiential Learning to Develop Career Readiness Skills in Your Students

Using Experiential Learning to Develop Career Readiness Skills in Your Students

To succeed in today’s competitive working world, students need more than basic qualifications—they need a range of skills to help them get their foot in the door and advance through their career ranks.

Experiential learning is one of the best ways learning institutions can build career readiness skills in their students boost employment outcomes. But what exactly are these skills, and how can experiential learning help develop them? 

You’ll find all your answers and more in this article.

What Are Career Readiness Skills?

Career readiness skills describe a set of abilities and expertise to help a person fulfil their needs as a student, employee, or business owner. They’re essential for anyone hoping to take control and reach goals in their professional and personal lives.

Job readiness is key to success in today’s workforce. It can help people find a job that fits their interests, improve their understanding of the skills they need, and help them develop their strengths.

In today’s competitive job market, many companies look for candidates who offer more than basic qualifications. Developing these vital skills can make you stand out from the crowd.

Some of the most important employability skills include:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking 
  • Creativity
  • Data analytics
  • Digital literacy
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Learning agility
  • Diversity (culture and identity)
  • Flexibility/adaptability in a changing environment
  • Financial literacy/money management
  • Future-oriented thinking
  • Problem-solving

Current Career Readiness Standards

As the working world changes and evolves, so do the skills necessary for career readiness. It’s crucial to stay up-to-date with these changes to maximise a student’s chance of success in their chosen industry.

The Australian Blueprint for Career Development highlights the current career readiness standards in our country. The three main career management competencies are:

  • Personal Management, which involves maintaining confidence and positive self-esteem
  • Learning & Work Exploration, which includes participating in lifelong learning
  • Career Building, which involves making career-enhancing choices and passing career assessments

Learn more about Experiential Learning and how real-world experiences can build students career readiness skills.


What Is the Skills Gap and How Does Career Readiness Address It?

The ‘skills gap’ describes the difference between the skills needed to complete a job and the availability of those skills in a given talent pool. 

Employers may require specific skills for a job listing, but if there aren’t enough qualified applicants to fill the role, unemployment rates can rise.

Thankfully, career readiness offers a manageable way to address the skills gap. When educators focus on instilling vital soft skills, students are more likely to meet an employer’s requirements.

Career Readiness Skills

7 Career Readiness Skills That Make Your Students Stand Out

The global economy is changing and employers are constantly looking for applicants with strong, well-developed, and career-relevant skills. Let’s discuss some of these skills now.

1. Critical Thinking/Problem-Solving

Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are crucial because they help prepare individuals for what the future might hold. 

These skills also help new college graduates understand how to react when situations don’t go as planned, preparing them for when they need to seek new opportunities or change careers.

  1. Oral/Written Communications

Communication skills are more vital than ever in today’s world. Whether you are interviewing for a job, speaking in front of a large audience, or just having a conversation with a friend, these skills need to be honed.

Oral and written communication skills are crucial because they allow us to express our emotions and ideas without the use of words. By building these soft skills, students can develop stronger collaborative relationships and move forward confidently in their working lives.

Today’s job market requires people who not only have strong verbal communication skills, but also the ability to write well and present themselves professionally.

3. Teamwork/Collaboration

Our modern workforce strives to stay connected and keep up with the working world’s ever-changing needs. To do so, it’s crucial for employees to have a variety of skills that can help them adapt and become more effective in the workforce—with teamwork and collaboration being essential.

A team with high morale, a supportive culture, and the skills necessary to work together well is more likely to thrive and deliver the best results.

4. Information Technology Skills

With the rapid advancement of technology, more and more companies are looking for people with IT skills. Applicants with cutting-edge knowledge in information technology, software engineering, and data science are all in high demand.

IT skills help in job readiness as they can prepare individuals for a degree or certificate programs they may need on the job.

5. Leadership

Many people think of leadership as an innate skill, limited to those only with natural charisma and confidence—but that’s not the case. Leadership is a teachable skill like any other!

Well-fleshed-out leadership skills allow individuals to communicate, inspire teams and consistently deliver results. For example, a leader needs to know how to prioritise tasks, manage workflow, and deliver feedback effectively so employees feel supported throughout their experience in the company.

6. Professionalism/Work Ethic

Work ethic and professionalism are also crucial skills in the workplace. Let’s discuss what they mean and why they matter.

Work ethic is all about following a personal code of conduct and acting in accordance with personal values. The skill also includes being punctual, taking an interest in others, being willing to learn new skills and going above and beyond expectations. 

Similarly, professionalism is all about displaying a set of values, ethics, principles, and ethical systems that govern professional practice. A professional will maintain a positive reputation and character to enable success in their future careers.

7. Career Management

Career management isn’t exactly a skill in itself, but rather a set of skills and abilities that can help employees identify career goals and achieve career development. It’s the difference between powering through day-to-day tasks and taking real action to achieve career advancement.

Some core career management skills include:

  • Labour market awareness
  • Leadership
  • Inquisitiveness and initiative
  • Resilience
  • Creativity
  • Career planning

Career Readiness Skills

What Is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is a way of teaching or learning that draws on firsthand experiences, interactions, and interventions. It is different from traditional educational pedagogy in that it encourages learners to participate in the process rather than passively experience the material.

David Kolb, an American psychologist and educational theorist, developed the experiential learning model in 1948. He believed knowledge arises through experience—a theory that still holds true today.

Experiential learning has become an increasingly popular method of teaching. Career readiness experts believe that experiential learning can improve students’ ability to find meaningful work and boost their competitiveness in the talent pool.

Different types of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is a type of education that uses real-world experience as the main medium to teach students. It can take many forms, from hands-on learning in fields like engineering, to more traditional studies such as academic analysis or art classes.

Work-integrated learning is one branch of experiential learning—it involves students learning real-world skills in an office, studio, workshop, or another working environment. Project-based learning, on the other hand, is all about involving students in hands-on, long-term projects.

Here are some examples of how institutions can deliver experiential learning:

  • Working with a mentor in a non-profit organisation,
  • Teaching an English class while living abroad,
  • Participating in a laboratory experiment,
  • Joining an internship program,
  • Working at a restaurant over the holidays.

How can Experiential Learning help develop students’ career readiness skills?

Experiential learning is an approach to education that involves students engaging in activities and gaining real-world experience in a particular field. This can help students develop the professional skills needed to succeed in their careers.

There are many ways to implement experiential learning in your classrooms. You could have students work as interns at different real-life companies, or you could have them volunteer at local community organisations. In this way, students can develop skills highly relevant to their chosen industries, along with general career readiness abilities.

For example, let’s say a student wants to start a fundraiser to support their local soccer club. They’ve put together a small team to help them bake goods and build a stall to sell their products. They’ve also made flyers to place around the university, promoting their fundraiser.

Through this project, the student will gain several critical skills for career readiness, including leadership, planning, collaboration, communication, and marketing skills.

Getting your students involved with experiential learning

Getting your students involved with experiential learning is easy— especially with a specially-designed platform. Practera’s learning management platform makes delivering learning experiences easy, including internships, work placements, projects, simulations, and more.

Delivering experiential learning can be as simple as a class project or as complex as a technology-driven work simulation. No matter how you choose to enrich your students, Practera’s platform is the way to go.

Using a learning management platform to help students develop skills

Practera’s innovative platform offers an all-in-one solution for delivering and managing hands-on learning experiences. It’s the ideal way to attract and retain students, enhance employability, grow industry engagement, and reduce delivery costs in further education.

The platform’s useful features include:

  • A template library to help you get started with delivering experiential learning.
  • Customisation to help you author any kind of learning.
  • 360-degree feedback from peers, educators, and industry.
  • A comprehensive analytics dashboard displaying clear, actionable results.
  • Chat-based collaboration tools to help students, educators, and employers stay in touch.

Start delivering innovative learning experiences today

Experiential learning is one of the best ways to prepare students for the working world. By delivering varied and hands-on learning experiences, universities can instil vital skills and values in their students, including leadership, collaboration, teamwork, future-oriented thinking, digital literacy, and much more.

The simplest and easiest way to deliver these modern learning experiences is through a platform like Practera’s. To find out more about what our platform offers, download our white paper here—or contact us online to request a FREE platform demo.


Learn more about Experiential Learning and how real-world experiences can build students career readiness skills.


A Guide To Implementing Project-Based Learning in Higher Education

A Guide To Implementing Project-Based Learning in Higher Education


In the 1960s, a new wave of inquiry into the nature of learning and instruction emerged as a response to changing conceptions of students as workers and learners. In this context, project-based learning (PBL or PBJL) came about as a way to focus on developing skills for real-world contexts instead of the traditional approach, which focused on memorising facts and figures.

Today, the PBL approach is popular in primary and high schools around Australia and the world—but it’s also gaining serious momentum in the higher education sphere.   

The benefits of PBL in higher education are limitless. This article will walk through all the questions you might have about the pedagogy and how to implement it within your institution or classroom.

We’ll start with a brief definition. Then we’ll dive into the detail.

What is project-based learning?

PBL is a student-centred pedagogy that promotes self-directed research and discovery, stemming from the broader concepts of experiential learning and inquiry-based learning. Students engage with meaningful tasks that connect to their everyday lives and real-world contexts.

The instructor guides PBL projects, but students and their peers take the reigns. Topics normally revolve around the students’ unique interests, skills, and future job prospects.

A typical project might introduce concepts or skills, provide opportunities for authentic assessment, encourage creativity, or provide an opportunity for collaborative problem-solving. Whichever path you take, PBL has one common goal—to inspire and engage.  

Essentially, PBL is an immersive experience, giving students a chance to apply their knowledge and skills in a meaningful way. It also helps develop key skills, including:


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Here’s a quick example. Students studying architecture could collaboratively research, analyse, and report upon a sustainability issue in their local area, highlighting areas for change or improvement and expressing their problem-solving skills. They might then present their findings and ideas to the local council.

It’s important here to distinguish between project-based learning and traditional class projects. Unlike the traditional approach, which usually has distinct steps, PBJL learning is flexible and focuses on varied experiences. Learning stems from a central driving question, branches in many directions, and ends with deep reflection and evaluation.

Project based learning

Why should universities offer project-based learning?

As we discussed above, PBL is all about engaging students with the content at hand, highlighting how knowledge is created, shared, and used in the real world. 

Today’s modern universities use PBL as a tool for discovery and experimentation, helping students find their strengths. Remember—an interested student is an engaged student!  

In this way, students can make a more informed choice about their learning path and become more engaged with graduate-level course content, leading to better graduate career outcomes.

How can project-based learning benefit universities?

Project-based learning courses benefit universities in many ways. Let’s discuss just a few key advantages.

By implementing the PBL pedagogy, your institution will enjoy:

  • The opportunity to enhance the curriculum with real-life experience, preparing students to enter the world after graduation,
  • Improved retention rates and student engagement,
  • Better employment outcomes,
  • Enhanced professional higher education,
  • Improved reputation,
  • Stronger relationships with industry, government, and community partners,
  • A leading-edge over competitors,
  • A unique selling point, leading to a boost in enrolments.                                                                                                                              

Student benefits: confidence, critical thinking skills and more

As we discussed above, project-based learning is a student-centred pedagogy. It emphasises solving problems, intelligent inquiry, and collaboration, often outside the traditional classroom environment.

Regardless of the chosen project, PBL has common benefits for students across disciplines. Along with gaining a deeper interest in and understanding course content, students will develop critical thinking, analytical reasoning, teamwork skills, and creativity. They’ll also build confidence by taking control of their learning and guiding their unique path through the project.

For example, a recent study found that PBL increases STEM learning through advanced feedback, discussion, and self-assessment.

What courses are best suited to project-based learning?

Project-based learning is applicable across all kinds of courses and disciplines, although it may be easier to apply in some more so than others.

Here are a few problem-based learning and project-based learning examples, focusing on different courses.

History: research, design, create, and present a historically accurate museum display of an event or place,

  • Law: representing a defendant in a mock trial, presenting an argument to the jury,
  • Humanities: researching a pressing social issue and running a fundraiser to raise money for a related charity,
  • Arts: planning and putting on a gallery display of student artwork,
  • Science: visiting a research laboratory and assisting with an ongoing project.
  • IT: designing a new program or app as part of a virtual internship with a local company.
  • Engineering: enhancing engineering education through fieldwork and on-site projects.

Project based learning

How can higher education institutions offer their students project-based learning?

While the traditional, lecture-based model of teaching has its merits, there are also some shortcomings. Many students cram knowledge for tests and assignments, but without applying their new skills in real-world scenarios, they can quickly forget what they’ve learned.

As an alternative teaching style, PBHL allows students to apply their learned material in real-life scenarios and experience the fruits of their labour. 

So, how can post-secondary education institutions offer this unique and highly beneficial experience to students?

It starts with staff. You’ll need a strong, dedicated, and supportive team ready to apply this new pedagogy actively. Thankfully, PBL education is just as beneficial for teachers as for students—so it shouldn’t take much convincing!

Educators, institutions, and students will also benefit enormously from using a specially-designed experiential learning platform like Practera’s. This software allows universities to deliver project and problem-based learning with ease, streamlining the entire experience from planning to delivery, feedback and reflection.

It also helps to look at examples of problem-based learning activities—this can give you a headstart when brainstorming ideas for your classroom or institution.

The benefits of using Practera for your project-based learning programs

Practera’s innovative platform provides a broad range of benefits for teachers and learning institutions hoping to implement the PJBL pedagogy.

Let’s dive into a few of the platform’s unique benefits, focusing on how you could benefit as a higher education teacher or institution.

Monitor progress

The Practera learning platform allows educators to monitor each student’s performance in real-time. Using the system’s ‘Pulse Check’ feature, teachers can learn more about their students’ feelings about a project, monitoring their insights and reflections.

You’ll receive an instant notification if a student feels off-track, allowing you to easily manage participation and help your students learn and stay engaged.

Quality feedback to enhance learning outcomes

Through Practera’s learning platform, educators can monitor, analyse, and provide feedback on student work at a glance. It’s all easily accessible through one powerful program.

Not only can teachers provide feedback, but peers and industry members can, too—giving students a deeper understanding of their performance and skyrocketing learning outcomes.

Simple to use

Practera’s experiential learning platform makes it simple to launch and manage experiential learning programs for students.

The platform gives you access to templates which follow best practices and empowers educators to create custom authoring and library tools that will deliver your vision across multiple types of experiential learning. 


30-day free trial

Receive an exclusive 1:1 onboarding for your 30-day free trial with one of our experts and learn how to author, manage and launch amazing experiential learning programs with one easy-to-use platform.

No commitment or credit card needed to get started with your trial.


 

Easily assess educational outcomes

The platform also features a real-time analytics dashboard, through which educators can assess educational outcomes with ease. The dashboard provides a 360-degree view of the student learning journey, including submissions, reviews, and intelligent insights. It’s a fantastic way to stop small issues from becoming big ones while reducing risk.

Advanced technology enhances user experience

Practera’s platform uses smart AI-based, advanced to personalise and enhance the user experience for teachers, students, learning institutions, and employers. These unique enhancements include:

  • An AI-powered assistant—the first designed with experiential learning in mind,
  • Chat-based collaboration features, allowing users across your higher education institution to stay connected, set reminders, and support each other,
  • Customised experiences, allowing you to tailor the program to meet your unique needs—down to the smallest detail,
  • Smart templates for a streamlined delivery.  

Find out more today

To learn more about Practera’s platform and how it can help you deliver better learning outcomes, get in touch with our team today. We’re here to help with any questions you may have.

You can also download our PBL whitepaper here to learn more about the project-based learning approach and its benefits for higher education institutions and students.

Preparing Students For The Workplace with Experiential Learning

Preparing University Students for the Workplace with Experiential Learning

The working world is forever changing. Traditional educational methods no longer apply to many real-world working scenarios. As educators, how can we effectively go about preparing students for the workplace?

The answer is experiential learning—an innovative, 21st-century educational approach that focuses on learning through experience.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about experiential learning, including a brief history, a summary of its benefits, and how higher education institutions are successfully integrating this exciting learning methodology within their classrooms.

What is experiential learning?

The experiential learning process has existed since the early days of education, it became increasingly popular in the 20th century as a non-traditional, hands-on approach to learning. This approach came as a welcome alternative to the traditional lecture-based teaching methods of the past.

John Dewey, an American educational reformer, psychologist, and philosopher, first popularised experiential education, arguing that knowledge comes to us through engaging with natural objects.

Educational theorist David Kolb built upon Dewey’s experiential education theory in the 21st century, developing the experiential learning pedagogy—a learner-centred approach focusing on learning by doing. This approach encourages students to think critically, problem-solve, evaluate, and take risks with their education.

Essentially, the experiential learning approach encourages students to explore their interests through hands-on projects and activities. A popular experiential learning process, known as work-integrated learning, involves students participating in placements, internships, or simulations related to their chosen career path.

As an example—if a work placement or internship at a law firm isn’t possible—students studying law could benefit from a mock court scenario, where each student takes on different courtroom roles and ‘acts out’ a pre-planned case.

Similarly, project-based learning involves hands-on projects. Popular projects include researching a current topic, building a student farm, or creating a business plan.


Learn about the benefits of Experiential Learning and how it can be used to develop learning agility in students.


Why do students need experiential learning?

In today’s world—and especially in tertiary education—we continue to see a shift from traditional to experiential learning. Universities are increasingly delivering these programs to offer students a competitive edge as they set off on their career paths.

Through work-integrated learning, for example, university students can enjoy experiences they wouldn’t have access to in a traditional classroom environment, helping them gain practical skills and academic knowledge. Some benefits include:

  • Building problem-solving skills,
  • Cultivating creativity and innovation,
  • Learning industry-specific skills,
  • Developing leadership and teamwork skills.

Not only will students learn skills relevant to their industry of choice—but they’ll also discover more about themselves. For university students especially, experiential learning provides learners with an opportunity to explore different options before committing to a particular career path.

As such, students will learn more about their preferred field of study or career path, while also developing everyday life skills such as confidence, initiative, and interpersonal skills.

Preparing students for the workplace with experiential learning

How can experiential learning prepare students for the working world?

Students thrive in experiential learning environments because it offers them real-life experience in an industry of their choice. Retention rates soar, skills grow—and the practical knowledge students develop through this method becomes even more valuable as they enter the working world.

The knowledge and skills that experiential based learning provides through technical education are essential for 21st-century success in the workforce—both in general and within specific industries. Here are just a few examples:

  • Collaborative and interpersonal skills
  • Practical skills and knowledge
  • Creativity and critical thinking
  • Effective conflict resolution
  • Problem-solving
  • Initiative and self-management
  • Organisation
  • Technological skills
  • Foreign language skills
  • Learning agility
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Entrepreneurial skills and an entrepreneurial mindset

The shift from traditional education to experiential learning has helped teachers effectively prepare the next generation of students as they enter the workplace. According to a McKinsey report, the experiential learning cycle is the most effective way for learners to achieve career readiness.

According to an investigation conducted by The Conversation in 2016, students who participate in internships have lower rates of unemployment following graduation—and that engaging students in several short internships lead to better employment outcomes.

These results reflect the idea that companies prefer job applications with relevant skills and experience—something that an experiential learner can easily provide.

For example, a student hoping to find a job as an accountant will benefit enormously from having hands-on experience with software like QuickBooks, Xero, and MYOB.

Further still, meeting with industry experts can give budding accountants an invaluable leg-up in the industry, helping them walk into their first position confident and ready to take on the world.

To summarise, in today’s challenging job market, it’s more important than ever for students to leave university with a broad range of highly applicable, job-ready skills. And experiential based learning is the best way to guarantee that outcome.

Today’s educators have a responsibility to offer professional development for graduate students, preparing them to join tomorrow’s workforce and instilling them with job-specific skills.

How university students benefit from experiential learning Cycle

Experiential learning practices play an essential role in professional development for undergraduate students. Let’s dive deeper into some of the key benefits involved.

Offers students real-world experience

Experiential learning offers young people real-world experience, opening doors to different industries and helping them discover pathways to future careers. Learners also have the opportunity to develop soft skills, like teamwork and time management, enhancing their chance of success in the future workforce.

Allows students to apply their knowledge practically

Through experiential learning, students enjoy the opportunity to express their skills and knowledge in a practical way. For example, a student who has worked hard on their programming skills can put them to the test by designing, building, and trialling a real program or app.

Helps students realise their career path

Experiential based learning also helps students discover their interests, which can lead them towards their ideal career path. In the same way, learners can discover whether a particular path is right for them and enjoy effective career preparation.

Opens doors to finding professional contacts

Students undertaking internships (whether in-person or virtual), work placements, or simply meeting with industry leaders have the chance to develop lasting working connections. These professional contacts can propel them towards future career opportunities and help better prepare students for their chosen industry.

Experiential learning

How learning institutions benefit from experiential learning

It’s not only students who benefit from experiential learning—teachers, local employers, and learning institutions do, too!

Attracts and retains student attention

The idea behind experiential learning is that it can provide students with the context and knowledge that they need to understand what they’re studying. This type of education also allows them to relate their own experiences and thoughts to what they learn, which makes it easier for them to absorb concepts and retain information.

Enhances student employability

The benefits of experiential learning are many, not only for students but also for their employers. Many companies are looking for candidates who have practical, work-related knowledge to help their business run smoothly—and experiential learning provides invaluable professional development for students.

Grows industry engagement

Through existing experiential learning platforms, students engaged with authentic industry projects, experiences, and internships. In this way, learners can help industries provide meaningful services, build stronger teams, and even create new products.

Experiential learning students essentially act as accelerators within their chosen industries, validating concepts and developing fresh ideas to help organisations thrive.

Reduces delivery costs and boosts scaling

Through experiential learning platforms like Practera, educational institutions can scale their delivery costs, enabling them to effectively deliver an expert-led learning experience.

In this way, institutions can deliver educational experiences at a significantly lower cost per learner than traditional classrooms.

Preparing students for the workplace

Engaging students: how to apply the experiential learning methodology

Here are some examples of how educators can apply experiential learning methodology, preparing students for the future workforce:

  • Field trips and excursion
  • Online meetings and discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Presentations
  • Internships and work placements
  • Work simulations

Developing an effective experiential learning activity or project starts with understanding your students’ needs and interests as individuals. Ideally, learners will choose a topic and guide the research, development, and reflection process.

You can also take an overarching classroom topic and build experiences around it. For example, if your class is currently learning about rock formations, why not plan a field trip to a local conservation park or geology trail?

Using Practera’s experiential learning platform

 

Practera’s powerful experiential learning platform allows educational institutions to attract and retain more students, boost their employability, grow industry engagement, and reduce delivery costs.

Through this innovative platform, educators can deliver engaging and varied experiential activities and programs to students, including team projects, internships, and work simulations. Practera’s platform also facilitates global mobility, allowing learners to connect with industry leaders across the globe.

 


30-day free trial

Receive an exclusive 1:1 onboarding for your 30-day free trial with one of our experts and learn how to author, manage and launch amazing experiential learning programs with one easy-to-use platform.

No commitment or credit card needed to get started with your trial.


So, how does the platform work?

Practera’s platform allows teachers to seamlessly design, deliver, and manage experiential learning programs—all through one simple platform. Create a streamlined brand journey with the platform’s white labelling tools or use the in-built templates to craft your first experiential learning project.

To get started with Practera’s experiential learning platform, contact our friendly team. You can also download our latest white paper to find out more about how the platform could benefit you.

What Is Learning Agility & How Can Educators Develop This Skill In Students?

As forces like globalisation, rapid technological development and changing business strategies continue to impact the workforce, it is more important than ever for students to develop the new skills to continue learning throughout their careers.

While imparting academic knowledge, educators can also help students to establish learning agility – known in other words as ‘figuring out what to do when you don’t know what to do’.

What Is Learning Agility?

Learning agility is different to learning ability or cognitive ability. According to researchers from Columbia University, it is “a mindset and corresponding collection of practices that allow leaders to continually develop, grow, and utilize new strategies that will equip them for the increasingly complex problems they face in their organizations.”

For students, learning agility encompasses the ability to quickly study a new problem and use their learning processes to produce new ideas and make decisions.

Agile learners need an open and receptive mindset. Students with high levels of learning agility typically excel at evaluating and comprehending new concepts. They continuously learn, acquire new skills, and seek new strategies for solving increasingly complex problems.

They are curious, learn from mistakes, and can apply this learning in unfamiliar contexts. This enables them to embrace new challenges and perform well under changing circumstances.

Essential components of learning agility

To create a model for understanding learning agility, DeRue et al conducted research that showed it has two main drivers:

Flexibility

This refers to the ability to abandon past solutions that no longer work in favour of new solutions that better suit future needs. Flexibility helps agile individuals understand how things are connected and change their thinking frameworks as needed.

Speed 

This refers to the capacity for rapidly making sense of new situations and adapting behaviors to make a plan of action. A learning agile person can quickly digest large quantities of information and decide what is most important.

Learning agility at college

Learning Agility Is a Mindset That Can Be Instilled

DeRue also notes there are two dimensions of learning agility – cognitive and behavioural. While the cognitive aspect is hard-wired and therefore difficult to change, the behavioural component can be learned. Like exercising a muscle, practising the behaviours of an agile learner strengthens and reinforces them.

Agility to learn effectively can be developed at any life stage. It starts with a mindset that chooses to question the status quo, embrace new concepts, and risk making mistakes for the sake of learning.

Why Students Need To Develop Their Learning Agility

Students are future leaders, professionals, executives and more, so it’s vital for them to develop learning agility.

Employers Place Value On Learning Agility

High levels of learning agility are crucial to effective performance in 21st century workplaces. In rapidly evolving business models, organisations need high potential talent candidates with skills for success in volatile times.

Employees risk becoming incompetent in their jobs without the ability to adapt to changing processes and technologies.

Furthermore, learning agile people are likely to have more successful careers. Korn Ferry conducted research which showed people high in learning agility received twice as many promotions over 10 years than those low in learning agility. They also found learning agility accounted for 18 per cent of the reason for more frequent promotions.


Learn about the benefits of Experiential Learning and how it can be used to develop learning agility in students.


Builds On Skills Learned at University

High agility to learn allows students to make the most of their learning experiences. Developing the capacity to figure things out quickly better enables students to find innovative solutions to difficult problems and deal with challenging situations – ensuring they become high potential employees.

It also complements the employability skills, such as emotional intelligence and leadership potential, university students can develop alongside their academic knowledge.

How to Improve Students’ Learning Agility 

To ensure students are equipped for long term success, learning agility training should commence at university. Here are several ways educators can develop it in their students.

Learning agility assessments

The essential components of learning agility can be best taught when you know which ones are lacking. Assessments exist for this purpose. Examples include:

If you choose to assess learning agility in your students, ensure you use scientifically validated tests and that students understand assessment is about helping them become more agile learners.

Building learning ability at college

Encourage the seeking out of learning opportunities

Educators can foster learning agility by encouraging students to:

  • participate in information gathering and brainstorming to generate innovative solutions for complex problems
  • be comfortable with interpersonal risk taking when their opinions differ to those of others
  • ask questions, make suggestions, and voice their opinions
  • risk being wrong and making mistakes they can learn from
  • seek out new and different experiences that broaden their perspective
  • reflect, both alone and with others, on their learning experiences.

Equip students with the skills to deal with uncertainty

Learning agile individuals are comfortable with unfamiliar situations. Educators can foster this in students by encouraging them to:

  • participate in a range of different learning experiences such as online courses
  • collaborate with a diverse range of peers, mentors and academic staff
  • complete work-integrated learning projects that solve authentic industry problems
  • take part in virtual internships where they will experience industry challenges
  • remain open to criticism and resist the urge to make excuses or defend their actions
  • take on challenges outside their comfort zone
  • engage in feedback seeking to improve learning.

Experiential Learning and the 5 Elements of Learning Agility

Aside from the two essential components discussed above, Korn Ferry have identified five dimensions of learning agility.

Mental agility

This is about embracing complexity and exploring problems in unique and different ways. Mentally agile people accept they don’t have all the answers, enjoy learning new things, and get excited by opportunities to discover novel and creative solutions.

People agility

This involves being open-minded with others and enjoying interactions with new and diverse groups of people. Individuals with people agility are good listeners, skilled communicators, and tend to bring out the best in others.

 

College lecture

Change agility

Change agile learners know solutions that work today may not do so in future. They are comfortable with change, enjoy experimentation, and are always seeking new and better ways to do things.

Results agility

People with high levels of results agility respond well to challenges and enjoy delivering results in new and complex situations. They also enjoy inspiring others to achieve more than they thought was possible.

Self-awareness

Self-aware learners understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They are reflective and seek feedback to better understand and improve upon their learning.

Experiential learning is an ideal way to help your students develop all five dimensions of learning agility. Participating in workplace projects with an industry, community or government partner gives students the opportunity to collaborate with peers and professionals, solve real-world problems, report their results, and receive feedback about their performance.

College lecture

Change agility

Change agile learners know solutions that work today may not do so in future. They are comfortable with change, enjoy experimentation, and are always seeking new and better ways to do things.

Results agility

People with high levels of results agility respond well to challenges and enjoy delivering results in new and complex situations. They also enjoy inspiring others to achieve more than they thought was possible.

Self-awareness

Self-aware learners understand their own strengths and weaknesses. They are reflective and seek feedback to better understand and improve upon their learning.

Experiential learning is an ideal way to help your students develop all five dimensions of learning agility. Participating in workplace projects with an industry, community or government partner gives students the opportunity to collaborate with peers and professionals, solve real-world problems, report their results, and receive feedback about their performance.

How Practera Can Help

Practera works with higher education providers to offer premium quality experiential learning programs, at scale and with reduced delivery costs. Based on the theory developed by David Kolb, which highlights the importance of experiences in the human learning process, Practera’s platform and programs have been developed to support every stage of the experiential learning cycle.

Our fully supported and quality assured programs support the development of learning agility by connecting students with authentic workplace experiences across numerous categories, including team projects, internships, boot camps, work simulations and more. These are curated from thousands of employers globally, including government bodies, corporations, and community organisations.


30-day free trial

Receive an exclusive 1:1 onboarding for your 30-day free trial with one of our experts and learn how to author, manage and launch amazing experiential learning programs with one easy-to-use platform.

No commitment or credit card needed to get started with your trial.


Importantly, Practera’s user-friendly, innovative platform has been developed to maximise learning quality and the student experience for both onsite and online learning, including synchronous and asynchronous virtual delivery.

For educators, our evidence-based assessment, performance tracking and feedback devices support top-quality remote program delivery, facilitating continued provision of experiential learning regardless of lockdowns or restrictions. Inbuilt intelligence, for example, discerns optimal moments for reflection and encourages students to think deeply, encouraging retention and enhanced performance.

Embedded assessment tools provide multiple options for educators to assess student work, while ELSA – our world-first AI-assistant – conducts 24/7 monitoring to provide real-time recommendations based on learning science, saving you time and helping you deliver the best possible learning outcomes.

Practera’s experiential learning programs can also be scaffolded to facilitate student competency prior to a full placement or internship. Education institutions using this approach support more students to experience long term success.

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