June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.571.1 - 23.571.10
Experiential Learning: The Heart of a Successful Education - One Journey Through Graduate SchoolAbstract Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors. – African ProverbThis paper will chronicle the journey of one, graduate student through a Mechanical EngineeringPh.D. program. She/He is a huge proponent of Experiential Learning; a method defined byDavid Kolb in 1984 and built upon the theories of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin and Jean Piaget.However, she/he did not enter graduate school knowing about experiential learning, nor itsimportance for a successful education. This discovery came over a lengthy period of time filledwith expectations, misunderstandings and positive experiences that carried her/him through eachphase of the Ph.D. process. The journey will be defined by the active, educational experiencesalong the way that helped inspire her/him to continue. These experiences eventually led her/himto discover and realize the importance of experiential learning in helping students evolve from adualistic point of view to a more intellectual and relativistic point of view; a goal of alleducational institutions.Experiential learning theory proposes using experiences as an educational tool. This paper willpresent several experiences that were inspirational to the graduate student such as the researchopportunities, physical education classes and energy audits but will focus on the most influentialexperiences which were created by the GK-12 outreach program at the university and the stateenergy internship program (SEIP) in the mechanical engineering department. The GK-12outreach program began in 2004 with a grant from the National Science Foundation andsupplemental funding from the GE Foundation and the SEIP was federally funded by ARRAmoney. The seas were not smooth but the educational experiences were more beneficial thanjust lectures and lab work. It was through these experiences, that she/he is leaving the universityhaving truly discovered her/his calling and developed the necessary skills to be successful.
Albers, L., & Bottomley, L. (2013, June), Experiential Learning: The Heart of a Successful Education - One Journey Through Graduate School Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19585
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