Such a formidable mission would not be attained without key partnerships throughout Northeastern University and beyond.
Partnerships at Northeastern allow us to drill deep into the impact of the vast landscape of experiential learning opportunities. With experiences ranging from course-based experiential opportunities to six-month and eight-month cooperative education opportunities with employers around the world, Northeastern offers an excellent sandbox to study the impact of experiential learning.
“Partnerships at Northeastern allow us to drill deep into the impact of the vast landscape of experiential learning opportunities.”
These opportunities are possible because of the dedication of a rich network of individuals and programs that work together to make up an experiential education model. The Research Institute for Experiential Learning Science works to seed new research opportunities as well as develop and build collaborations throughout this network while utilizing a mosaic of research methodologies to best understand the impact of experiential learning and the mechanisms that underlie this impact.
With a deeply entrenched experiential education model at Northeastern University, faculty are encouraged to create learning environments rooted in this pedagogical and curricular approach. With students who are weaving in and out of their disciplinary studies and cooperative education experiences, faculty members are in unique positions to not only create experiential opportunities in the classroom to leverage student experiences, but also to create opportunities for students to transfer to and from their classrooms the knowledge that they gained in other experiential learning environments.
In an experiential learning culture that Northeastern University has created for their learners and educators, faculty are encouraged to treat the learning of their students in the experiential learning environments as a source of scholarly inquiry.
The cooperative education model at Northeastern is supported by a robust network of faculty who are devoted to working at the intersection of students’ coursework and cooperative experiences. This point of transition is also a point in which a lot of flux happens with regards to the ways in which students process and transfer knowledge. These faculty members work with students to prepare them for their cooperative experiences, facilitate their experiences while on co-op and transition them back into their classes, at which time they begin to work with them to prepare for future experiences.
These faculty members have unique experiences with students that few other individuals at Northeastern have. Furthermore, they work with students on topics that are key to understanding the roots of experiential learning. To that end, the Research Institute for Experiential Learning partners with them to research the cognitive processes involved in students’ transitioning between the different environments in which they engage while in college.
Northeastern works with thousands of employers (both domestic and international) to provide our students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge in authentic work environments. These employers are key members of the complex learning environment that Northeastern offers students. They create opportunities, work closely with students to guide them through their experiences, provide opportunities for the students to create their own learning outcomes, and provide feedback for students to learn from. These individuals have a unique perspective on student learning and growth, particularly in the environments that are as close to real-world experiences as can be achieved while maintaining an educational perspective.
To that end, the Research Institute for Experiential Learning Science (RIELS) partners with the Co-op Faculty to investigate the cognitive, social, and cultural processes involved in students’ transitioning between the different environments in which they engage while in college.