Bridging the Theory/Practice Divide: Experiential Learning for a Critical, People-Centred Economy

We, as a collective of university educators at Ryerson University’s Faculty of Community Services (FCS), find ourselves at an exciting and challenging time: we need to find innovative methods to educate and prepare students to thrive in an evolving society and labour market. Experiential learning, also called service learning, though widely used but severely under researched, is a promising approach to achieve this goal. Our knowledge synthesis project, Bridging the Theory/Practice Divide: Experiential Learning for a Critical, People-Centred Economy, aims to 1) assess the quality, accuracy and rigour of the current state of knowledge about experiential learning in Canada (e.g., how it is defined and conceived by educators, and the assumptions that underlie the application of the term ‘experiential’); and 2) identify knowledge gaps between theory and practice to help arrive at a shared understanding of experiential learning that is informed by empirical studies and outcomes.

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