Experience and learning go hand and hand. In my opinion, true learning happens outside of the classroom, as it provides students with a more tangible learning experience; active learning. Learning should also be more self-directed at the collegiate level, as it is socializing students for the work environment. “As noted in the reports, students should be engaged by the faculty as “coinquirers” and in collaborative student learning and course development” (Anaya, 1996). I spent a great deal of my educational career learning in a traditional setting; I can stay that I did not retain the information I learned in the traditional environment, because I could not equate it with an experience.
Co-Op institutions are more effective in my opinion, as students are routinely afforded active learning opportunities. Students can immediately apply their classroom learning to the workplace; they can connect their learning to an experience which encourages retention. Immediate implementation of newly acquired skills also encourages skill development.
Experiences outside of the classroom have been proven to promote skill development and learning. “Involvement theory suggest that some (nonacademic activities) are likely to promote student learning, whereas other impede it.” (Anaya, 1996). Therefore, institutions must balance academic and nonacademic learning to promote student development.
Anaya, G. (Nov./Dec., 1996). College experiences and student learning: The influence of active learning, college environments and co-curricular activities(PDF). Journal of College Student Development. 37(6), pp. 611-622.