Reflection in Experiential Education

March 2022 Newsletter Feature Story

Reflection is a vital component to the overall ExEd experience. Simply put, reflection, added to an experience, produces learning*.   When Purdue’s definition of experiential education was crafted, including student reflection as a component was intentional. We believe that it is through these reflection activities that the project, internship, co-op, student organization, and so on really comes alive for a student. Reflection allows them to connect what they are experiencing to what they are learning inside and outside the classroom and apply it to future experiences.

Many Purdue ExEd program leaders are already doing great work in the area of reflection during ExEd experiences. We were delighted to learn that 70% of ExEd programs represented in the Landscape Analysis report are consistently using reflection during the ExEd experience. As we continue to build a culture of reflection in experiential education, our vision includes supporting students to reflect across experiences and across their educational journey.

While many folks are already conducting reflection activities with students, below are some resources to assist you to grow what you are already doing or to help you get started if you are new to incorporating a reflection component in your experiences.

If you are looking for a way to connect with others about reflection at Purdue, be sure to attend the March Community of Practice event held on March 29. For more information or to register for this event, please visit the ExEd website

*National Society for Experiential Education. https://www.nsee.org/8-principles

Experiential Education Landscape Analysis Report

February 2022 Newsletter Feature Story

The Office of Experiential Education is excited to share the results of the recent Landscape Analysis conducted in partnership with Institutional Data Analytics + Assessment (IDA+A). The Landscape Analysis included extensive surveying of individuals believed to be leading ExEd programs. The three-part process included a pre-survey, the landscape analysis survey, and focus groups with program administrators. 260 survey participants provided information about 355 programs occurring at the University.  A few highlights from the results:

  • 12 types of ExEd have been identified with the most common being project-based experiences, service-learning or community-based learning, field work, and study abroad.
  • Many survey participants reported that their programs involve at least two or more types of ExEd. Only 23.5% reported that their program involves only one type of ExEd.
  • Many programs are affiliated with courses (58% always connected to a course, 12% sometimes connected to a course); 31% of programs do not have a course affiliation.
  • More than 70% of programs engage most or all students in reflection during the experience.
  • More than 95% of programs reported that most or all of their students develop career-relevant knowledge, skills, or abilities during the experience.

To read about more results and recommendations for future actions, please read the Landscape Analysis Quick Guide

Welcome to the New Office of Experiential Education

January 2022 Newsletter Feature Story

The Office of Experiential Education was created in summer 2021. Since we’re something new for Purdue, we’re getting a lot of practice introducing ourselves. If you haven’t heard our story yet, read on!

In the spring of 2021, Purdue announced its “Next Moves,” or the strategic priorities that will highlight the next five years. One of these priorities is Transformative Education 2.0 -- a set of projects focused on positioning Purdue as the most innovative residential learning program among large U.S. research universities. The Office of Experiential Education was created to carry out the experiential education part of the Transformative Education 2.0 goals.

The purpose of the office is not to centralize or standardize experiential education programs at Purdue. Instead, the office will serve as a resource to programs and personnel, working towards the goal of increasing the quantity, quality, and equity of experiential education programming at Purdue. As part of Transformative Education 2.0, our charge focuses on programs that serve Purdue-West Lafayette undergraduate students. 

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