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Experiential Learning Approaches at Toronto Metropolitan University

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As Toronto Metropolitan University’s focus on EL grows, new opportunities are being explored and curated for students. The increasing emphasis on EL contributes to the integration of Policy 169: Experiential Learning into EL activities across and off-campus. Below are the university’s core defining aspects of EL as outlined in the policy and examples of current on and off-campus offerings. While these are just examples, Toronto Metropolitan continues to push the boundaries on what EL can look like and develops new EL approaches and models with the introduction of Policy 169: Experiential Learning.

Core Defining Aspects of EL

As per  (PDF file) Senate Policy 169 (opens in new window) , Toronto Metropolitan must continue to offer multiple expressions of EL to ensure that we provide our students with creative and valuable learning opportunities. The University has identified core defining aspects for all academically relevant EL opportunities at Toronto Metropolitan to encourage that creativity. EL opportunities can take many forms with these core defining aspects while maintaining academic excellence and alignment with students’ academic goals.

Core Defining Aspect Definition
Clear Learning Outcomes Demonstrable and measurable statements that identify the intended knowledge, skills, values, and competency outcomes of EL.
Curated Experience Intentionally selected experience that involves active engagement in learning by doing, hands-on involvement, and application of theory and practice.
Intentional Integration For EL to be effective, each core aspect needs to be intentional and integrated. This means the experience, the prompts to facilitate reflection, and the method and logistics of assessment are aligned to the learning outcomes and each other, throughout.
Ongoing Reflection Ongoing, and meaningful sense-making, directly connecting the students’ experience to personal and academic learning. There is a focus on what learning has occurred, and what that changes in the future.
Constructive Assessment The assessment of the EL opportunity provides generative feedback that evaluates students’ achievement of the intended learning outcomes to enhance learning and improve future performance. Constructive assessment may contribute toward the student’s grade in the course or may be done to facilitate student learning where a grade is not assigned

How EL is Integrated into the Curriculum

Live Actor Simulation (LAS@R)

Toronto Metropolitan offers a unique example of EL through LAS@R. Simulations involve highly skilled simulators trained to portray a particular character’s history, personality, and physical/emotional state. When interacting with the simulator, learners employ interpersonal skills. The simulator offers immediate feedback and provides an opportunity for each participant to reflect on their individual, interpersonal abilities. Through this process, learners have a chance to internalize knowledge and skills that they’re subsequently able to apply to their professional careers.

Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching (opens in new window) 

Community-Engaged Learning and Teaching Coordinators help students make linkages between theory and practice, enhance critical thinking skills, strengthen their ability to use different levels of thought and develop foundational inquiry and observational skills research. Students may participate in community-engaged activities and projects as optional or required components of core and elective program courses.

Courses at Toronto Metropolitan University

The university offers a variety of experiential-focused courses in all seven faculties. From the Creative Schools Super Courses, where multidisciplinary students develop design solutions to real-world problems, to the Faculty of Science’s Evidence-Based Innovation (opens in new window)  course, which uses a hands-on approach to generate ideas and insights to real-world problems.

Field Education, Placements and Practicums 

The Faculty of Community Service provides third and fourth-year students with challenging and rewarding opportunities to put education into action through field education (opens in new window) . The Faculty of Arts offers diverse placement opportunities in multiple programs, including Geography (opens in new window)  allowing students to develop their geographic information systems inside and out of the classroom.

Service Learning 

Service learning is an experience-based form of learning where students work alongside community partners and apply knowledge, skills and research in authentic, real-life situations as an integrated aspect of a course. The service is linked to both community-identified needs and course objectives. Service learning encourages civic engagement and strengthens communities.


The Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science offers internship (opens in new window)  opportunities in all nine of the faculty’s undergraduate programs allowing students to experience firsthand what engineering, architecture, and construction employers expect.

Co-Operative Education

Career & Co-op (opens in new window)  works with faculty and students to facilitate career-related work experience in relevant companies and agencies.

Ted Rogers School of Management’s co-op program (opens in new window)  is a unique and industry-based model that bridges the gap between academic theory and relevant real-world experience.

Zone Learning

Zone Learning is a new EL model built to prepare students for the 21st-century workplace by providing opportunities for them to work on real projects, causes, companies or startups. Toronto Metropolitan's 10-zone network (opens in new window)  offers students the chance to solve real-world problems, learn new skills, and gain tangible experience within one of the most vibrant cities in the world.