To be “APPROVED” the activity or course must meet the five criteria. When applied learning is embedded in a course, these criteria refer to the activity rather than the course as a whole. Regardless of the activity, both the experience and the learning are fundamental. The five criteria as set forth by SUNY include:
All parties must be clear from the outset why this specific experience was chosen as the approach to the learning, and intentional about defining the knowledge that should result from it. The activity needs to be a structured experience with a formal process, which includes a course syllabus or learning contract between parties (students, faculty, and other supervisors as appropriate) and/or defined assessable learning outcomes. Roles and responsibilities for all parties must be clearly defined. Faculty and site supervisors (as appropriate) are expected to take the lead in ensuring both the quality of the learning experience and of the work produced. The applied learning activity should have hands-on and/or real world context and should be designed in concert with those who will be affected by or use it, or in response to a real situation.
Participants and mentors must ensure that students enter the experience with sufficient background and foundational education, as well as a plan to support a successful outcome. The training and plan should include learning expectations and be referred to (and potentially updated) on an ongoing basis by all parties.
Applied learning activities are dynamic. Therefore, all facilitators in the activity share responsibility for ensuring that the experience, as it is in process, continues to provide a rich learning environment and is meeting learning outcomes. Activities include a defined and flexible method for feedback related to learning outcomes and quality performance for all parties.
There must be a structured opportunity for students to self-assess, analyze, and examine constructs/skills/insights from their experience and to evaluate the outcomes. Reflection should demonstrate the relevance of the experience to student learning, including the student’s articulation of how the experience draws on and improves this learning and meets defined objectives. Post-experience learning should include a formal debriefing. All facilitators and students engaged in the experience should be included in the recognition of progress and accomplishment.
Outcomes and processes should be systematically documented with regard to initial intentions and quality outcomes. Students must receive appropriate and timely feedback from all facilitators.
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