It is one confident position to state that I design experiential courses. It is quite another (perhaps confident) position to identify the necessary skills to create an entrepreneurial and networked student that gains the most from an experiential course. Most students are a product of the broken system they have been in for decades. They complain about the process but they are also part of the process and consequently are part of the problem. It was the same system when I was a student – all assembly line, where it is easy to ‘read, write and submit’ my essay. Did I learn anything then? Not much. Would I learn anything now? Probably about the same non-amount, although I would probably pay someone to write the essays for me in this academic era.
The first couple of weeks of our experiential class are always painful as students realise they have to unlearn their academic Pavlov Dog behaviours to be able to learn in a new way that is meaningful for their future. As the educator, all I can do is stand attentively at the side as they struggle, get angry, fight the process then finally embrace what is happening and become immersed. It is like taking the training wheels of a bicycle for the first time.
It always works!