This article examines programs at the university level which are expanding the scope and nature of co-op experiences and experiential learning for students.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Careers, business studies, entrepreneurship

Key Questions to Explore:

  • What changes are these courses bringing about?
  • How are they beneficial?
  • How will education change in the next 50 years?

New Terminology:

Experiential learning

Materials Needed:

Copies of the article for the students

Study and Discussion Activity

Introduction to lesson and task:

Co-operative learning has been around for a while but developments being tested at the university level could very well herald new changes. Experiential learning programs are being introduced at the university level and the results are encouraging. The challenge of integrating classroom theory with workplace practice and the demand to establish clear ownership and control of these initiatives are creating some difficulties but they are not insurmountable. Is this type of modification simply the tip of the iceberg? Are these changes harbingers of basic changes to the way education will be conducted – even at the high school level? With increasing ease of access to information and data bases and the availability of technical equipment with remote access, are bricks and mortar schools in danger of becoming obsolete? This lesson will have the students examine current educational structures, discuss what changes they would like to see and outline what they believe the shape of education will be in the next 50 years.

Action (lesson plan and task):

  • If your school building is more than 30 years old begin the lesson by asking the students to identify what changes in education they think the building has seen during its lifetime. (If it not that old show them a picture of a school building that is at least 30 years old and ask them the same question.)
  • Once you have their responses, ask them if they are aware of any new developments in educational practice that are occurring.
  • With this brief discussion concluded, inform them of the experimental experiential learning that is taking place at the university level and provide them with copies of the article.
  • Allow them time to read it and then hold a brief plenary session during which they can discuss their reactions to it.
  • Divide the students into groups of five or six and assign the following task:

Given what you know and the fact that there are new readily available avenues to communication and information such as computers, smart phones, tablets etc

1. Outline what changes would you like to see in the way in which education is conducted.

2. Describe what you think a high school education will be like in 50 years. Outline some of the subjects you think will be taught and how and where those courses will be run.

  • Allow the groups time to complete the assignment.

Consolidation of Learning:

  • Have each group provide their report to the class and respond to any questions or comments.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • The students will be aware of some new experiential learning programs that are being field-tested and will have some ideas about the future direction that public education might follow.

Confirming Activity:

  • Assign the following reflective writing piece: I believe that I would have a better educational experience if the following changes were made to the way in which I am being educated: