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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Hands-on learning is a necessary part of college, but here’s what it doesn’t teach students | Grade Point - Washington Post

Jeffrey J. Selingo, regular contributor to Grade Point and professor of practice at Arizona State University says, "What employers look for when hiring graduates." 
 
Xavier University student Triton Brown studies in a common area on campus before going to one of his part-time jobs in New Orleans.
Photo: Gerald Herbert/AP

As college students nationwide work in part-time jobs or internships this summer, it’s unlikely many will think about how they’re using their undergraduate courses on the job or how they might apply what they’re learning at work when they get back to campus.

For students, college is a series of disconnected experiences — the classroom, the dorm, the athletic field, the internship. Yet what employers tell me gets college students hired is the ability to translate what they learned in one place (the classroom, for instance) to another that is far different from where they originally learned a concept (a project on an internship).

Educators call this “transfer learning” — the ability to generalize core principles and apply them in many different places, which becomes more important as the skills needed to keep up in any job and occupation continue to shift in the future.

The concept sounds simple enough. But today’s students, facing the constant pressure to prepare for standardized tests, rarely have the chance to learn through problem solving or to be involved in projects that reinforce skills that can be used in multiple settings. Our ability to drive almost any car on the market without reading its manual is an example of knowledge transfer, as is our ability to solve math equations involving any number once we learn the formula...

Arizona State University, where I’m a professor of practice, is testing a curriculum across a dozen majors in which students learn nearly half of the subject matter through group projects instead of a specified schedule of classes. Engineering students might build a robot and learn the key principles of mechanics and electronics from faculty members during the project. The hope is that students will be more engaged if theories from the classroom are immediately applied in the outside world instead of years after students graduate.

Source: Washington Post


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