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By Terri J. Matiella, Ph.D.
UTSA 2020-21 Next-Gen Faculty Fellow
Co-Director, Core Curriculum and Assessment for Environmental Science
Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Ecology

We have all heard the term ‘experiential learning’… but what exactly is it? And how can we do it with our students? We all know that hands-on learning helps students grasp concepts better, retain information, and learn deeper. In some areas, this fits well in the curriculum – science labs, arts classes, playing music – but how can that translate into more classes?

Case studies, simulations, and gaming or role playing can fill the role of experiential learning in the classroom. For example, incorporating real world case studies where students reflect and justify a decision can promote experiential learning, as can having them take on different stakeholder roles in a simulation. They may not agree with the role they are playing, but it can help them examine an issue from different perspectives.

Case studies can be found across the internet, and can be held as a class session, or even presented in an asynchronous video lecture where students engage with the material, then make a decision and justify their plan.