An undergraduate's university experience is often fragmented, with courses, service opportunities, and extracurricular activities seemingly unconnected to one another. Providing students with the means to integrate their learning can be a challenge for university educators. Promoting an integrative learning approach, however, can assist students in putting the pieces of the university experience into a coherent whole that prepares them for their personal, professional, and civic life. Learning takes place in individual courses and disciplines, but integrative learning transcends academic boundaries, and encourages students to address real-world problems, to synthesize multiple areas of knowledge, and to consider issues from a variety of perspectives.
Tools and strategies commonly associated with Integrative Learning include PebblePad, Experiential Learning, High Impact Practices, and Assessment. Learn more about each of these by clicking the relevant links.
Explore these strategies in action, as presented in the Integrative and Experiential Learning Series.
Waterloo ExL Symposium - Presentations from the concurrent sessions at the Waterloo ExL Symposium
Waterloo ExL Institute - Presentations shared at the Institute
Faculty Toolkit - Queen's University Experiential Learning Hub
Faculty Guidebook on Experiential Learning - Brock University
Authentic Assessment Methods - Deakin University (four parts)
Experiential Learning & Reflective Teaching - McMaster Engineering Faculty Development Academy (Sirutis & Massi,2014).
Work integrated learning
Work Integrated Learning Open Module Initiative – a resource for learners
A Practical Guide for Work-integrated Learning: Effective Practices to Enhance the Educational Quality of Structured Work Experiences Offered through Colleges and Universities - This guide is intended to serve as a resource to enhance student learning and development in higher education through structured work experience. Work-integrated learning is a pedagogical practice whereby students come to learn from the integration of experiences in educational and workplace settings (Billett, 2009).
Resources for reflection
P.E.A.R. model - McRae, N. & Johnston, N. (2016). The development of a proposed global work-integrated learning framework. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 17(4), 337-348.
Faculty Guidebook on Experiential Education: Brock University - Frameworks for reflection with associated prompts (What? So what? Now what?DEAL, ICE, 4 Rs) as well as domains of reflection and associated prompts: Professional Development, Academic, Personal Development, Interpersonal Engagement, Systems Engagement/Social Justice.
Reflection Toolkit: University of Edinburgh – a resource with support and information whether you are looking to reflect yourself or facilitate reflection in others.
Reflective Prompts - Reflective models to help students reflect on their learning. Reflective models include
- STAR Model (Situation | Task | Action | Result | Learning)/transfer of learning)
- Gibbs Reflective Cycle – Description, Feelings, Evaluation, Analysis, Conclusion, Action Plan
- DEAL Model - Describe | Examine | Articulate Learning – can be used to examine personal growth, civic engagement and/or academic enhancement
- What? So What? Now What?
- Bain’s 5Rs - Reporting & Responding | Relating | Reasoning | Reconstructing
- The Integrated Reflective Cycle – experience, reflection on action, theory, preparation
- The Four F’s of Active Reviewing - Facts | Feelings | Findings | Future
- CARL Framework - Context | Action | Results | Learning
Rubrics for assessing reflection
Critical Reflection Rubric - The critical reflection rubric (adopted from Kember et al., 2008) provides a framework for evaluating reflection. This rubric can be used on its own or as a starting point upon which to layer course-specific expectations. Kember, D., McKay, J., Sinclair, K., Kam, F., & Wong, Y. (2008). A four-category scheme for coding and assessing the level of reflection in written work. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 33(4), 369-379.
Reflective Rubric to Assess Reflective Writing in Pharmacy Education - An adaptation of work by Boud D, Keogh R, Walker D. Promoting Reflection in Learning: A Model. Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. London, Kogan Page; New York, Nicols Pub; 1985:18-40. [Google Scholar], and Mezirow J. Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 1991. [Google Scholar] found in Tsingos-Lucas, C., Bosnic-Anticevich, S., Schneider, C. R., & Smith, L. (2017). Using reflective writing as a predictor of academic success in different assessment formats. American journal of pharmaceutical education, 81(1), 8.
See Appendix 1 for the prompts for the Reflective Statement outlined in the article above.
Report: The Human Factor - Essential reading for those curious about the nature and trajectory of the perceived skills gaps that experiential learning opportunities can help to bridge. Burning Glass: “THE HUMAN FACTOR,” BURNING GLASS TECHNOLOGIES ©2015 www.burning-glass.com
Report: The New Foundational Skills - This paper reports on a search for the New Foundational Skills of the digital economy. How and when do evolving skills change the job market? Which skills are in demand in both digitally intensive jobs, and more broadly? Which skills retain their value over time? If such a set of emergent, critical skills exists, how do the skills interact, and what do they mean for job seekers and incumbent employees, educators, and employers? Markow, W., Hughes, D., & Bundy, A. (2018). The new foundational skills of the digital economy: developing the professionals of the future. Business-Higher Education Forum, Washington, District of Columbia.
WatCV (“UWaterloo curriculum vitae”) - The site contains resources designed to help students articulate the full range of their skills to prospective employers. WatCV provides skills-articulation templates recognized by employers worldwide. Using these templates, students create ePortfolios to showcase the wide variety of skills they are developing at university, focusing especially on how they would transfer these skills to new workplace situations. Tomasson Goodwin, J., & Lithgow, K. (2018). Eportfolio, Professional Identity, and Twenty-First Century Employability Skills. Catalyst in Action: Case Studies of High-Impact EPortfolio Practice, 154-71. Tomasson Goodwin, J., Goh, J., Verkoeyen, S., & Lithgow, K. (2019). Can students be taught to articulate employability skills?. Education+ Training, 61(4), 445-460.