Service-Learning (SL) adopted by PolyU is an experiential learning pedagogy, which integrates community service with academic study and reflection as an institutional strategy to cater for education of students and embed social responsibility of the university. Around 350 BCE, Aristotle wrote “for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. Experiential Learning (EL) is any learning that supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or authentic situations where the instructor directs and facilitates learning. To put it simply, EL is the process of learning through reflection on doing. It may contain following components: reflection, critical analysis and synthesis, opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for the results. EL provides opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically.
Experiential Learnings can:
a) motivate students to learn: when students are engaged in learning experiences that they see the relevance of, and the product has more significance than a grade, they have increased motivation to learn and produce a more thoughtful product.
b) Produce more autonomous learners: to solve problems and complete tasks in unfamiliar situations in a real world context, students need to figure out what they know, what they do not know, and how to learn it.
c) prepare students for internships and work as students learn beforehand in EL certain attitudes and ways of thinking that are inherent in the discipline or the workplace, such as resilience, tenacity, curiosity and self-direction.
d) cultivate soft skills, like civic engagement, team work, and leadership that most employers look for in candidates, are best practiced in the “real-world” not sitting in a classroom.
As a popularizing trending of education, EL is obtaining increasingly more appreciation and importance among higher education institutions.
An assessment on potential partnership of experiential learning programs was produced by interviewing around 20 professors and teaching staff in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia to learn about:
1) their viewpoint and models of experiential learning programs (structure of the
2) their viewpoint on social impact and future skill development on students
3) need of resources and support from teaching and project management perspective
The data from questionnaire are as follows:
Home country of professors and teaching staff: Cambodia (7), Thailand (1), Malaysia (3),
Bhutan (1), Indonesia (1).
Article is drafted by Ripple Wei, co-founder, Lex.