The Importance of Practice-Based Learning

 

 

For anyone who knows me, they know how difficult my freshman year of college was. I was feeling extremely indecisive about my major and what I want to do with my future. I was feeling hesitant and worried that I was in the wrong major but was too afraid to actually leave it. It wasn’t until this summer that I realized I am without a doubt where I am meant to be. This didn’t happen overnight, though.

This summer I began working within the business school at UNH doing administrative work at the front desk. This typically meant answering phones, filing papers, and checking students in for appointments and basically doing whatever was needed, and I loved it. I was approached by the dean who asked me to help on the marketing team for a brand-new practice-based learning program that would be instilled in the school this fall called Business in Practice, “BiP” for short.

I was hesitant about the program at first, as anyone would be, but the more I learned about it, the more intrigued I became. I began researching experiential learning programs across the country and how more and more colleges are attempting to give students a real-world experience without having to leave the classroom. There were schools who had your usual internship or cooperative education program, but there were also schools who were incorporating experiential learning into their everyday education. This concept is becoming increasingly common within universities across the United States, and even internationally.

What the Business in Practice program is trying to accomplish is making it part of the curriculum in a way that enhances it and coincides with the core curriculum. But why is this only now becoming such a progressive part of education?

For many students, they are looking for the way to build their resume and make themselves appealing to employers. You want to show that you have experience and that you’re an excellent candidate for the job, but what about those students who never had the opportunity to gain that experience? That is what so many schools are striving for; the experience for those who might not have been able to have it otherwise. By providing internal opportunities for students by partnering with external employers, universities are hoping to bridge the gap between student and “real-world ready”.

 

But as a college student, what does this mean for you? And probably at the front of your mind is, what is in it for you? Think about this: say you were applying for your dream job, but you had hardly any experience besides your degree and what you learned inside the classroom. Sure, you know a lot, but how are you going to show them? How are you going to implicate this knowledge that you spent four years and probably lots of money learning? Experiential learning programs within your school is how. Students are getting the opportunity to equally learn in regard to their major and get real-world experience that can make them more appealing to a future employer.

Take the opportunity to learn more and experience what your future could be like. Programs like these could end up being a turning point in your life, it could be the moment you discover where you belong or where you don’t. If you have an experiential learning program at your school, take advantage of it and get involved. If you don’t, talk to your administration and see if there are any opportunities for you to get involved with or bring it up. Experiential learning and practice-based learning are the future of education, so why not be part of history in the making?