Pat Maher, Emily Root


Innovation in the classroom flourishes when learners become part of a collaborative and creative community. All too often, content heavy curriculum supersedes the equally important "process" component of learning in higher education. From our experience across a variety of disciplines, learning can be deepened by spending more time and paying greater attention to creating learning communities — a concept that is highlighted as a “high impact practice” in student recruitment and retention literature. Whether the setting is a conventional university classroom or lecture hall, a field or forest on the edge of campus, or a local neighbourhood, educators can facilitate a learning community through a progression of intra- and interpersonal explorations. This workshop engaged participants in a series of experiential activities that aim to foster initiative, leadership, self-awareness, and trust—factors that underlie effective collaborations for innovative learning. Workshop activities were debriefed from both the participant and facilitator perspectives.


Learning communities; experiential education; student engagement

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