Transforming a Volunteer Program into a Meaningful Experiential Learning Opportunity.

  • Taylor Trottier-Scully University of Guelph
  • Kerry Ritchie University of Guelph
Keywords: Experiential Learning, Co-curricular Learning, Learning Outcomes


Through a previous review of high impact practices at our institution, we identified that health science students have very few opportunities to engage in experiential learning (EL) in the current curriculum. This paper describes our work to transform an existing volunteer opportunity at an allied health clinic, into a meaningful, student-driven, co-curricular EL opportunity. Specifically, we incorporated critical EL elements (i.e. reflection, feedback) into the existing volunteer program and developed five program specific learning outcomes (LO).  We then tracked volunteer’s self-selected participation in a variety of activities and collected volunteers’ and practitioners’ assessment of LO achievement. This paper presents LO data from the first offering of this EL opportunity and discusses the challenges we faced and lessons learned through this process so that it may inform other institutions considering implementing co-curricular EL opportunities.
Conference Theme: Students as Drivers