General Education Program

Experiential Learning

Students benefit from opportunities to learn by reflecting on experiences beyond their typical classroom activities and by applying the knowledge and skills they gain from traditional courses in new settings. To this end, students are required to complete an Experiential Learning requirement as part of UWSP’s new General Education Program (GEP).

To fulfill this requirement, students will:

  • Complete an approved experiential learning project.
  • Reflect on the experiential learning activity in order to gain further understanding of their university education, and an enhanced sense of one’s personal responsibility as a member of a larger community.
(Note: “Community” in this context is defined as any of the various on- or off-campus departments, units, or organizations with whom students might work to complete their Experiential Learning requirement.)

Experiential learning is a broad concept, including many types of active, hands-on learning opportunities. It is an example of a “high-impact teaching practice” that has been shown to enhance a student’s comprehension of course material, to enable students to see connections between theory and practice, to aid in student retention, and to develop a student’s sense of responsibility for their education. Moreover, experiential learning provides students with an experience that aids in the development of leadership skills and responsible citizenship.

Experiential learning is the synthesis of a hands-on experience with some relevant aspect of a student’s university education. This synthesis of experience with learning takes place in the context of a structured reflection activity. An appropriate reflection activity will vary depending on the experiential learning activity and the intended learning outcomes.

In some cases, students can satisfy this requirement by completing a structured, credit-bearing course that has been proposed by an academic department and approved by the General Education Committee. Departments proposing the credit-bearing course or experience will use their best judgment when determining the number of hours required, as well as the type of reflection required of students.

Experiential Learning Activity (ELA)

Students may elect to satisfy this requirement by completing an Experiential Learning Activity (ELA). Students are required to work with an ELA Mentor, and any faculty or staff member on campus can serve in this capacity. However, ELA Mentors will need to understand the requirements and expectations associated with the ELA option.

Current ELA Mentors

ELA Mentor Resources: Requirements & Expectations

ELA Mentors are required to complete a brief training session which is designed to assist Mentors in providing feedback and guidance to students who elect to complete the ELA option. It will be important to know the details about the ELA requirement and how to help our students find success. ELA Mentor Training is offered periodically. See the Events Page for ELA Mentor training events.

Experiential Learning for Veteran Students

Veteran students may satisfy the Experiential Learning requirement by working with an ELA Mentor to reflect upon the connections between their military service and their coursework at UW-Stevens Point. To satisfy the Experiential Learning requirement in this way, veterans must:

  • have earned at least 24 credits from UW-Stevens Point;
  • meet their ELA Mentor at least once before formally reflecting upon the connections between their military service and their coursework at UW-Stevens Point; and
  • reflect upon the connections between their military service and their coursework at UW-Stevens Point through written communication with their ELA Mentor.

Click here for the complete Experiential Learning guide, which includes the following individual components:

  • Overview
  • Expectations & Responsibilities Checklist
  • ELA Planning Form
  • Reflection Guide
  • ELA Assessment Rubric
  • Completed ELA Approval Form