Experiential Learning Definitions

SOCHE and the Career Services Committee collectively support internships and co-ops as high impact educational practices that improve student success and are valued for workforce development. To help SOCHE develop clear and consistent language describing the various types of work-based learning experiences available at member institutions, the Career Services Committee created a list of these experiences and the key attributes of each type. The Experiential Learning Definitions are used for 20 by 20 Challenge (http://20by20challenge.com) data collection, as well as a resource and tool for outreach to regional businesses and organizations.

Cooperative education program – A formalized partnership between students, institutions of higher education, and employers designed to integrate the students’ academic study with work experience in approved, cooperating employer organizations.  Cooperative education programs have the following common elements:

  1. Typically alternates periods of academic study and work experience;
  2. Work experiences are in fields directly related to the student’s area of academic study;
  3. Employers are subject to approval by the student’s academic program;
  4. Typically has parallel timing of academic study and work experience;
  5. Work experiences are in fields related to the student’s area of academic study or career interests;
  6. Employers are generally not subject to approval by representatives of the student’s academic program;
  7.  Set times and duration;
  8. Work experiences are in fields directly related to the student’s area of academic study;
  9. Highly regulated and subject to approval by the student’s academic program;
  10. Work experiences are in fields related to the student’s area of academic study;
  11. Students are not compensated in the form of wages or salaries for work performed;
  12. Academic credit granted upon satisfactory completion.
  13. The experience is required to attain a degree or certificate.
  14. Typically brief in duration;
  15. Experiences are in fields directly related to the student’s area of academic study or a specific class;
  16. Associated curriculum or co-curricular program provides structured time for a student to think, talk, or write about the experience;
    1.  Students are compensated in the form of wages or salaries for work performed;
    2. Student performance is evaluated from the perspective of the institution of higher education and the employer;
    3. Participating students may or may not receive academic credit upon completion but the experience will be transcripted;
    4. The experience may or may not be required to attain a degree or certificate.

Internship program – A partnership between students, institutions of higher education, and employers designed to integrate the students’ academic study and career exploration with work experiences.  Internship programs have the following common elements:

    1. Students are usually compensated in the form of wages or salaries for work performed;
    2. Student performance is evaluated from the perspective of the institution of higher education and the employer;
    3. Participating students may or may not receive academic credit upon successful completion;
    4. The experience may or may not be required to attain a degree or certificate.

Student teaching, practicums, clinicals, and field experiences Partnerships between students, institutions of higher education, and employers designed to integrate the students’ academic study with specific work experiences. Common elements of these engagements include:

Service learning – A partnership between students, institutions of higher education, and community organizations designed to integrate the students’ academic study with meaningful community service and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, foster the development of a sense of caring for others, and strengthen communities.Common elements of service learning engagements are:

  1. Students are not compensated in the form of wages or salaries for work performed;
  2. There is generally no credit given and no transcript notation related to the experience.

Summary of SOCHE Experiential Learning Elements

Key

+ = Typical

– =  Not typical

Not specified if blank

 

Attribute Co-op Internship Service Learning Student Teaching Field Experience Practicum Clinical
Partnership of students, higher education, and employers integrating academic study and work

+

+

+

+

+

+

+

Alternate semesters of work experience and academic study

+

Parallel work experience and academic study

+

May be required for degree or certificate per chancellor

+

Always related to program of study

+

+

+

+

+

+

Work experience may be related or unrelated to academic program

+

Assigned/coordinated by academic program

+

+

+

+

+

Workplace meets standards

+

Provides academic credit

+

+

+

+

+

May provide academic credit (if more regulated)

+

+

Highly evaluated/regulated

+

+

+

+

+

Almost always multiple rotations at same organization

+

Specific set times/duration per rotation

+

+

+

+

+

Short in duration

+

Always transcripted

+

May be transcrpted

+

Registered as full-time student (for continuing financial aid)

+

Part-time or full-time work

+

+

May be a community service experience

+

+

Evaluated from higher education perspective and business perspective

+

+

Compensated by wages/salaries

+

+

Uncompensated

+

+

+

+