Project-Based Experiential Learning: It’s Not Just for Kindergartners
Project-based, integrated learning models that derive from John Dewey’s “learn by doing” educational philosophy have been widely applied to early childhood education in the U.S. for more than a half century. However, this learner-centered, “real-life” approach to education frequently gives way to its philosophical opposite (teacher-centered, test-driven) as the child moves into secondary and tertiary education settings. This paper explores the application of project-based, experiential learning to the research university educational experience through two programs that I have developed at the Univ. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: the Burch Fellows Program (http://www.burchfellows.unc.edu/) and “Where in the World Are We?” (www.studyabroad.unc.edu/witwaw) , both of which allow undergraduates to pursue their passions, talents, and curiosity about the world in ways and in places that would not be possible through a regular university course or typical summer experience.
Keywords: Project-Based Learning, Experiential Learning, Off-campus Learning, Research University
Prof. Robert Allen
James Logan Godfrey Distinguished Professor of American Studies, History and Communication Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill