The incorporation of experiential and “out of classroom” learning into the formal curriculum is standard practice in professional programmes and is increasingly being formalized in non-professional programmes at HKU. In the context of HKU’s undergraduate curriculum reform, “experiential learning” refers to the development of knowledge and skills through direct encounter with the phenomena being studied. The scope of experiential learning embodies but is broader than internship in professional training. It is a very powerful form of learning and it will be one of the fundamental parts of the new curriculum. It takes learning outside the traditional boundary of the classroom, and facilitates the development of an integrated and holistic understanding of issues.
What is Experiential Learning?
- Takes place in the setting in which the activities performed normally take place.
- Students are given an opportunity to participate in activities which are authentic to a profession or discipline.
- Breaks down the barriers between learning in the university and in the workplace.
- Provides an opportunity for students to apply knowledge acquired through classroom instruction.
- Integrates theory and practice.
- Through engaging in experiential learning, material learnt in class is internalised and personalised.
- Provides an opportunity to acquire the skills and learn the customs of a profession, thereby taking a step towards acquiring membership of that profession.
A number of Faculties at HKU have already incorporated experiential learning in their programmes, some have not only made it credit-bearing but also gone farther to make it a graduation requirement. For example, the Faculty of Science now requires its students to engage in at least one form of experiential learning activity in order to graduate. Similarly, the Faculty of Social Sciences requires all its B.Soc.Sc. students to complete credits off-campus before graduation. Information and examples about experiential learning in these and other Faculties can be viewed below.