Experiential Learning: Understanding our Students’ PerspectivesIn 2014, the Gallup-Purdue Index Report examined the relationship between certain collegiateexperiences and workplace engagement. It found that experiences or experiential learningopportunities such as participating in a co-op program, internship or working on projects thatdeveloped over one semester more deeply affect the level of a graduate’s workplace engagementand therefore productivity and overall well-being. While it is apparent how importantexperiential learning can be to the future success and well-being of students, it is more difficultto measure all of the activities that can be labeled as experiential learning and to define whatconstitutes a meaningful experiential learning opportunity.This paper will examine the results of a survey used to measure an undergraduate engineeringpopulation’s involvement in experiential learning activities that was given to 7105 undergraduatestudents at one institution. The results reflect that students are participating in a wide variety ofactivities that could be considered experiential learning, however the results also suggest thatthere is a need to refine the definition of experiential learning as it pertains specifically toengineering. For example, is a single project in a design-build course a significant experientiallearning experience or is a traditional semester abroad which doesn’t include any engineeringfocus? Additionally, this paper will discuss a tool which can be shared with academicstakeholders to guide students towards participating in experiences which will serve to aid themin career goals as they progress through their curricula, not just as a final report at the end oftheir academic tenure.


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Engineering education, experiential learning, engagement

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Ortiz, T., & Holloway, B. M., & Harris, M. T., & Pluckebaum, A. R., & Jamieson, L. H. (2015, June), Experiential Learning: Student Participation and Future Engagement Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24059