Learning Communities Redux: The Value of Experiential Learning within a Learning Community


The terms "experiential learning" and "learning communities" both appear on current lists of high impact practices in higher education. But while internships have consistently been the subject of pedagogical study over the past fifty years, the study of learning communities, after an initial flurry of activity in the 1990s, declined precipitously. With our institution's Washington D.C. Summer Study Program as its focus, this study proposes to use qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the quality of students internship experiences, asking the question How does an internship completed within a learning community increase a student experiential learning and subsequent civic engagement? We also hope, through focus groups, to better understand the underlying causal process between the students experiences and their subsequent civic engagement and long-term career success.



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