How Do You Make Learning Real?

Posted by on December 10, 2012

When it comes to learning, faculty and students agree: what matters is the real thing. It’s the connection factor–having the classroom become the real world “out there.”

Minnesota School of Business Service Learning Coordinator Nicole Rasmussen explains that what’s “phenomenal” about applied learning is the opportunity students have to apply course knowledge to the real world and network with community leaders.

Participating students agree that using their skills hands-on makes a big difference in their understanding of their courses’ material.

  • Whether it is Massage Therapy students massaging veterans at the Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota;
  • or Veterinary Technology students microchipping pets at Central Minnesota Animal Care and Control;
  • or Medical Assisting students educating new immigrants to the area about nutrition at Hands Across the World, all agree their knowledge becomes more meaningful in practice.

As student Tabitha Young states, “[Working at Central Minnesota Animal Care and Control] gave us more experience on how to deal with clients and how to work as a team.”

The highlight, she adds, is “being able to put what I have learned in the classroom into action in a real client situation.”

After working with patients at the VA, student Lacy Watkins feels the experience altered her career choices. “I believe that I would [now] take a position working with geriatric people as a career, given the opportunity.”

A bonus-added to the applied learning experience is the fact that students gain confidence in their skills as they practice them in an authentic setting.

Applied Learning. It is the real thing.


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