V. Hui, T. Cheung, A. Cooke, N. Khan

Ryerson University (CANADA)
The academic landscape is one of collaboration, empowerment, and creativity, yet there are rarely opportunities for students to apply these ideas in real world scenarios. As experiential learning continues to become the mantra of reflective and meaningful pedagogy, academics struggle to meet these demands on account of their lack of resources. What design institutions lack in funding and equipment, they try to make up for in creativity and good intentions. The key objective for all institutions, and certainly this paper, is to create a sustainable strategy for facilitating exceptional experiential learning opportunities within and beyond the academic environment. The authors of this paper posit that an infrastructure of experiential learning may be developed with very little and aside from strategic thinking and reframing the value of existing resources. Through a series of experiential learning design-build opportunities undertaken at the largest Architectural program in the largest city in Canada, the authors present five key strategies in effectively deploying experiential pedagogy despite limited resources. The methodology is validated by interviews with students, their documented outputs, and response from various stakeholders and media. Though exemplified by application in an Architectural program, the strategies proposed are readily applicable to any discipline and conducive to educators interested in inculcating experiential learning into their classrooms. By focusing on experiences, finding projects with mutual stakeholder alignment, reinterpreting resources, failing frequently (and fast), and asking students about their learning, educators can develop and deliver potent pedagogy that reinforces Kolb’s experiential learning paradigm. The paper concludes with the reinforcing strategies for sustaining such initiatives and their applications to a diversity of curricula.