Experiential Learning throughStudent Consulting PracticeIntroduction:Experimental learning through consultingpractice for business acts a facilitator and connector, bringing researchfaculty, companies, together students and most importantly entrepreneurs toreflect their studies theoretical aspects via implementing it. Experiential learning experiences providestudents to complete their personal goals and preferred careers which furtherreinforce their course and theory. Furthermore it promotes and sustain studentacademic success. Through these experiences students develop communication,networking, confidence, risk mitigation, leadership and decision making skillsby practicing, analyzing and implementing it which will ultimately solve realtime problem and processes.
The Experiential Learning through StudentConsulting Practice will provide “opportunities for undergraduate and graduatestudents to engage in hands-on learning. Through ELSCP student’s will have anopportunity to create research oriented work, develop their strategies andconcepts while applying their critical thinking thought process, creativity toreal-world problems. ELSCP can collaborate with other universities forgathering more hands on training sessions and research based programs.These following well-known proverbs clearlydefine the true ethics of experiential learningI hear and I forget, I see and I remember,I do and I understand.~ Confucius, 450 BCTell me and I forget, teach me and Iremember, involve me and I will learn.~ Benjamin Franklin, 1750There is an intimate and necessaryrelation between the process of actual experience and education. ~ John Dewey,1938Experiential learning has been a majorcomponent of career and technical education for many years (Clark, R, W et.
al2010) however implementation of experiential learning in career and educationoften differs from the research based theoretical framework of trueexperiential learning. Knobloch (2003) raised the question or point that manyeducators are familiar with ?hands-on? learning but questions this approach toteaching as actually constituting the principles of experiential learning. Experientiallearning is also stated as learning through action, learning by doing, learningthrough experience, and learning through discovery and exploration (NIU,Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center). It provides leaners with richer, moreinteractive, efficient way of enhancing knowledge. Individual or groupassignments, projects using experiential development process make students aprofessional consultant. Current learning practices and methods aremore often theoretical based. Students don’t get the right opportunity todeliver their skills and potentials in real time.
However course curricula dooffer students to participate in course projects and research papers. The roleof universities is very crucial because according to their strategies andopportunities students can excel further and get ready for the real time work. Experiential learning via a direct educational encounter (Borzak, 1981).Literaturereview:Experiential Learning TheoryOver the years, the topic of learning hasbeen examined extensively and has received considerable attention ineducational and neurological areas. For example in 2000, The National ResearchCouncil published How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Thispublication addresses such pertinent education pedagogical topics as howexperts differ from novices, learning and transfer of knowledge, mind andbrain, effectively designing learning environments, and effective teaching andlearning. Similarly, many educational research studies have been focused on thetheoretical underpinnings of experiential learning, especially Kolb’s researchon experiential learning theory published in 1984. The term experientiallearning is a broad term, generally used by educators to describe a series ofpragmatic activities sequenced in such a way that it is thought to enhance theeducational experience for the student learner.
However, in reality, literaturerelated to this topic has revealed that scholars in the field of experientiallearning have used this term in two characteristics but significantly relatedcontexts (Smith, 2001; Brookfield, 1983). For this reason it may be difficultto fully understand the topic of experiential learning without examining itsdiverse contexts.The first context of experiential learningas Smith (2001) described it is the ?sort of learning undertaken by studentswho are given a chance to acquire and apply knowledge, skills and feelings inan immediate and relevant setting. This type of experiential learning couldnaturally align with a contemporary career and technical education and/oragricultural education program, which prepare students for advanced leveloccupations in the workplace or post-secondary education. Another example mightbe a workforce education development program with a specific focus onoccupationally oriented pragmatic activities where a predetermined level ofaccuracy is desired. Whatever the educational setting, the important point toremember with this first concept of experiential learning is that it involves adirect experiential encounter with the learning Wurdinger and Carlson (2010) found thatmost college faculty teaches by lecturing because few of them learned how toteach otherwise.
Although good lecturing should be part of an educator’steaching repertoire, faculty should also actively involve their students “inthe learning process through discussion, group work, hands-on participation,and applying information outside the classroom”. This process definesexperiential learning where students are involved in learning content in whichthey have a personal interest, need, or want.Principles of Experiential Learning (EL)A key element of experiential learning…isthe student, and that learning takes place another or remain uninvolved orunmotivated and where the instruction is highly structured, students inexperiential learning situations cooperate and learn from one another in a moresemi-structured approach. Instruction is designed to engage students in directexperiences which are tied to real world problems and situations in which theinstructor facilitates rather than directs student progress. “The focus of ELis placed on the process of learning and not the product of learning” (UCDavis, 2011,). The Experiential Learning Process Experiential learning involvesa number of steps that offer student a hands-on, collaborative and reflectivelearning experience which helps them to “fully learn new skills and knowledge”(Haynes, 2007). Although learning content is important, learning from theprocess is at the heart of experiential learning.
During each step of theexperience, students will engage with the content, the instructor, each otheras well as self–reflect and apply what they have learned in another situation.The following describes the steps thatcomprise experiential learning as noted by (Haynes, 2007, and UC Davis, 2011): 1. Experiencing/Exploring “Doing”Students will perform or do a hands-onminds-on experience with little or no help from the instructor. Examples mightinclude: Making products or models, role-playing, giving a presentation,problem-solving, playing a game.
A key facet of experiential learning is whatthe student learns from the experience rather than the quantity or quality of theexperience.2. Sharing/Reflecting “What Happened?”Students will share the results, reactionsand observations with their peers. Students will also get other peers to talkabout their own experience, share their reactions and observations and discussfeelings generated by the experience. The sharing equates to reflecting on whatthey discovered and relating it to past experiences which can be used forfuture use.3.
Processing/Analyzing “What’s Important?”Students will discuss, analyze and reflectupon the experience. Describing and analyzing their experiences allow studentsto relate them to future learning experiences. Students will also discuss howthe experience was carried out, how themes, problems and issues emerged as aresult of the experience. Students will discuss how specific problems or issueswere addressed and to identify recurring themes.4. Generalizing “So What?”Students will connect the experience withreal world examples, find trends or common truths in the experience, andidentify “real life” principles that emerged.5.
Application “Now What?”Students will apply what they learned inthe experience (and what they learned from past experiences and practice) to asimilar or different situation. Also, students will discuss how the newlylearned process can be applied to other situations. Students will discuss howissues raised can be useful in future situations and how more effectivebehaviors can develop from what they learned. The instructor should help eachstudent feel a sense of ownership for what was learned. Instructor Roles inExperiential Learning In experiential learning, the instructor guides rather than directs thelearning process where students are naturally interested in learning. Theinstructor assumes the role of facilitator and is guided by a number of stepscrucial to experiential learning as noted by (Wurdinger & Carlson, 2010).
1. Be willing to accept a less teacher-centric role in the classroom. 2. Approach the learning experience in a positive, non-dominating way. 3. Identify an experience in which students will find interest and bepersonally committed. 4. Explain the purpose of the experiential learning situation to thestudents.
5. Share your feelings and thoughts with your students and let themknow that you are learning from the experience too. 6.
Tie the course learning objectives to course activities and directexperiences so students know what they are supposed to do. 7. Provide relevant and meaningful resources to help students succeed. 8. Allow students to experiment and discover solutions on their own. 9. Find a sense of balance between the academic and nurturing aspectsof teaching. 10.
Clarify students?and instructor roles. Student Roles inExperiential Learning Qualities ofexperiential learning are those in which students decide themselves to bepersonally involved in the learning experience (students are activelyparticipating in their own learning and have a personal role in the directionof learning). Students are not completely left to teach themselves; however,the instructor assumes the role of guide and facilitates the learning process.The following list of student roles has been adapted from (UC-Davis, 2011 andWurdinger & Carlson, 2010). 1. Students will be involved in problems which are practical, socialand personal. 2. Students will be allowed freedom in the classroom as long as theymake headway in the learning process.
3. Students often will need to be involved with difficult andchallenging situations while discovering. 4. Students will self-evaluate their own progression or success in thelearning process which becomes the primary means of assessment. 5. Students will learnfrom the learning process and become open to change. This change includes lessreliance on the instructor and more on fellow peers, the development of skillsto investigate (research) and learn from an authentic experience, and the abilityto objectively self-evaluate one’s performance. ExperientialLearning Opportunities at Illinois Business Consulting, University of Urbana Champaign.
1. EmpoweringStudentsEducating tomorrow’s managers, engineers,entrepreneurs, and CEOs to integrate cutting-edge business principles, science,and technology to help build a sustainable and prosperous future.2. EngagingOrganizationsHelping companies understand and adoptvalue-creating sustainable practices, remain in the forefront of sustainableinnovation, and create collaborative, cross-sector partnerships with a range ofstakeholders.3. EnrichingResearchAttracting top faculty, creatingopportunities for collaboration, and supporting high-impact research inbusiness strategies for sustainabilityCurrentareas where the consulting services is provided.
1. MarketAnalysis & Marketing StrategyWho is our ideal customer and how does ourproduct meet their needs?How big is the market and what are thegrowth and consumer preference trends?What is the competitive landscape and howshould we position ourselves to succeed?How does our pricing impact ourpositioning?We know who our customers are, but how dowe reach them?What channels should we use to get ourproduct into the customers’ hands?What kind of packaging will best attractthe customer? Where our product should be placed?2. FinancialAnalysisHow will a 10% decrease in annual revenueimpact our bottom line?What is the most cost-effective approachto building or procuring a new storage facility?Is there a better way to forecast our MRObudget in order to fix and replace assets before they are broken?3. Operations,Logistics & Supply ChainHow can we optimize the process flow inthe hospital’s Emergency Department in order to decrease patient waiting times?What algorithms should be used to bestmanage the ongoing transportation of hundreds of rail cars and the productsinside them?How can we ensure that our 2nd and 3rdtier supplies comply with our company policies?4. HumanCapitalHow do we create new and younger leadersin our company when the majority of our workforce is older and may not providethe environment your students?What are millennials looking for in a joband career and how can we position ourselves to attract these students?What is the best way to organize our staffin order to foster a sense of unity and cohesion?5. DataAnalyticsHow can we better display our data in waysthat will make it easier for us to make decisions?Of all the data we collect, which isimportant and which should we keep track of?Experiencethat students get after involving from this programIllinois Business Consulting provides anunparalleled professional development experience to the students. Being a part of the program students will:· Gainproblem-solving and decision-making skills· Createand deliver compelling presentations to executives· Learnto influence peers and manage inter-disciplinary teams· Explorevarious job functions and industries· Tapinto a network of outstanding companies, elite students and influential alumniExperientialLearning Opportunities at Northern Illinois University:Since 2000, The Experiential LearningCenter (ELC) in the College of Business has been connecting “teams of NIUstudents with organizations to tackle real-world business issues. From softwareevaluation to emerging market analysis projects, students serve as consultantsaddressing non-mission critical, cross functional business issues.
Throughoutthe 16-week semester, Business ELC teams are guided by a faculty coach and assistedby an organizational sponsor. To each unique project, teams apply the BusinessELC project methodology, as well as the knowledge, skills and theories learnedin the classroom” (ELC 2001). StudentExperience:Luke Cuculis, SENIOR MANAGERPhD student in Chemistry (3rd year/2016 graduation)1. Whatis it like to be a Senior Manager in IBC?Working as a project manager is like being the coach,team captain, team manager, and water boy for a sports team – it’s a tremendousresponsibility but also tremendously rewarding. ) Working as a senior managerallows you to really understand the organization of IBC and contribute to itssuccess from multiple levels – both at the level of mentoring and guidingproject teams, and shaping the organization as a whole.2. What’syour favorite experience at IBC?Last semester, as a project manager, things were comingdown to the wire for my team in preparation for our final deliverable.
One ofthe late nights we got together to work on the slide deck I brought freshcookies from Insomnia Cookies and we all ate and worked and felt very full andaccomplished as we finished the presentation.3. What’sthe most exciting project you’ve work on with IBC?A major agricultural company was not seeing widespreadconsumer adoption of a new technology they developed. My team uncovered severalroot causes to the issue, and in doing so got the attention of some of the toplevel management with our analysis and recommendations.4.
Whatis the value of IBC to you personally?As someone who came to IBC without having taken somuch as a single business course, IBC has provided me with an invaluableeducation in business strategy, and in further contrast to classes, a sense ofcamaraderie and support that no classroom can offer.