Insight

Preparing Students for the Future with Experiential Learning

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The automation of jobs across disciplines and industries means current and future students must develop a new set of skills to remain competitive within the job market. Even though most educational institutions already struggle with the development of relevant career skills in their students, the responsibility of educators to prepare students for a successful career post-graduation is still paramount.

As more and more technical jobs are redefined by technological advancements, how can we make sure our students are prepared to compete for the jobs of the future? Getting students “future ready” comes down to developing soft skills that transcend the traditional technical skills that can be automated. These skills include: strong social, emotional, and high-level cognitive skills; innovation and problem solving skills; and teamwork and collaborative skills.

Andrew Porter, from the Association for Experiential Education, references three current trends when discussing the future outlook of jobs:

  • 85% of jobs in 2030 don’t exist today
  • Nearly 50% of current work activities can be automated with existing technologies
  • By 2030, 375 million workers may need to change their occupation category

While automation and technological advancements will undoubtedly create a period of change, they will also “create a period of incredible opportunity for individuals who can innovate, think critically, collaborate, and communicate effectively.” – Andrew Porter, Association for Experiential Learning

Developing the Skills of the Future

Most educators often struggle developing soft skills in their students because these skills are hard to measure and develop. Experiential learning, or learning through experience, can help you create an engaging classroom experience in which students can practice and develop these critical career skills.

Let’s explore five ways to implement experiential learning, as discussed in a recent article published in the Association for Experiential Learning.

  1. Building a Learner Centric Ecosystem: learning is not a one-size-fits-all concept. In order to engage students and ensure meaningful skill development, the learning process must be personalized to their instructional needs.
  2. Committing to a Participatory Instructional Design: instructional methods should be active, multi-sensory experiences in order to engage students.
  3. Fostering Social Relationships: educators should create opportunities for students to interact and collaborate with parents, teachers, and peers in order to build soft skills such as teamwork, communication and collaboration.
  4. Leveraging Brain-based Insights: “While legitimate debate exists here, educators should incorporate insights from neuroscience to contribute to a learning design that amplifies cognition (for example, multi-sensory experiences amplify long term memory; active human socialization supports movement of information from memory to the frontal lobe; etc.).” – Andrew Porter, Association for Experiential Learning
  5. Enabling Competency-based Assessments: students must be given the opportunity to practice and skillfully apply the theory they learn in the classroom.

Getting Future Ready with Experiential Assessments

While we’ve previously discussed the seven characteristics of experiential learning in A Guide to Effective Education Through Experiential Learning, let’s delve deeper into how experiential assessments accomplish the five actions discussed above to nurture meaningful student development.

  1. Experiential assessments build a learner centric ecosystem through the development of career-relevant skills. In addition, experiential assessments provide an easy-to-use, web-based platform that increases student engagement.
  2. Experiential assessments deliver participatory instructional designs through the aforementioned web-based platform. This platform places students in real-world scenarios where they can make decisions, receive feedback, and reflect on mistakes.
  3. Experiential assessments foster social relationships through the development of critical career skills including: communication, teamwork, ethics and social responsibility. In addition, these assessments also allow students to receive feedback from peers and managers.
  4. Experiential assessments leverage brain-based insights, such as research-backed in-basket exercises and multisource feedback, to deepen long-term development. These methodologies implement multisensory techniques and human socialization to not only engage students, but also allow them to take ownership of their development process.
  5. Experiential assessments enable competency-based assessments that close the knowing-doing gap by allowing students to move from theory to practice, applying what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. Furthermore, experiential assessments instantly provide objective feedback that guides and fosters students’ professional development through actionable next-steps and recommendations for improvement.

Meet Capsim’s Suite of Experiential Assessments

If you’d like to learn more about experiential assessments and how they can help prepare your students for increased automation and a successful career post-graduation, click here or contact us at welcome@capsim.com.

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