What is experiential education?

Experiential Education can take many forms, and chances are that you have already participated in at least one type of experiential education. At York, experiential education is grouped in three main categories.

Course Focused

You will be exposed to concrete learning activities in the classroom or in the community that will require you to reflect on what you have experienced in relation to concepts/theories being covered in the course. Some examples of course focused EE include interacting with guest speakers in the classroom, analyzing a case study, going on a field trip, or attending a community event. What all these activities have in common is that they will be designed to help you achieve the course learning outcomes!

Community Focused

You will interact with community partners and get the opportunity to connect these experience with your course material. You will be asked to reflect by linking the concrete experience with your understanding of theory. In addition to helping you achieve your learning outcomes, the activities in which you engage must also meet needs identified by the community- it must be a mutually beneficial experience!


You will get hands-on work experience within organizational environments, and have the opportunity to develop competencies and skills and augment the theories/concepts learned in your course/degree programs. You will be asked to reflect by linking the concrete experience with your understanding of theory. All work focused EE will address degree level expectations, in particular, your ability to demonstrate autonomy and professional capacity.

How does experiential education work?

Are you wondering what to expect in an experiential education (EE) course? Would you like some resources to support your learning? Explore the tabs below to learn more!

Benefits of EE for Students

As indicated in a number of documents such as Faculty of Health EE discussion paper (2011) the White Paper Companion (2010) and elsewhere there are compelling reasons of the benefits of EE to student learning. They include:

1)       Deeper understanding of concepts covered in class

2)       Events in class are more memorable

3)       More engaged student learning

The literature points to a number of positive academically oriented benefits for Academic Community Service Learning such as:

  1. Increased interest and strengthened focus on the students’ major[i]
  2. Improved academic performance[ii]
  3. Improved oral and written expression[iii]

In addition, Academic Community Service Learning promotes broader social benefits such as:

  1. Beneficial for developing engaged citizenship, fostering civic responsibility, and the importance of contributing to the broader public good[iv]
  2. Improved attitudes toward social responsibility[v]
  3. Respect and tolerance for diversity and connection to others[vi]
  4. Increased likelihood to continue working with the community[vii]

Finally, Lowenthal & Sosland, (2007) point out practical benefits in terms of student development:

  1. More defined career plans
  2. Improved likelihood of attending graduate school, and
  3. Professional networking opportunities

EE courses in the Faculty of Health

This is a non-exhaustive list of some past and current experiential education courses. Please note that in many cases the inclusion of experiential education in a course will vary from year to year. It is possible that a course that a course that has included EE in the past may no longer include it in a current offering. Please confirm with the course director whether a course will include EE.

Courses with an in-community component:

  • HLST 4900 - Health Studies Project Management
  • IHST 1020 - Agents of Change in a Global World
  • KINE 3340 - Growth, Maturation and Physical Activity (Angelo Belcastro)
  • KINE 4520 - Sport Psychology Seminar (Paul Dennis)
  • NURS 4525 - Community as Partner
  • PSYC 4061 - Theoretical Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy (Karen Fergus)
  • PSYC 4060 - Counselling Psychology (Hennie Westra)
  • PSYC 4175 - Advanced Community-Based Applied Research
  • PSYC 4460 - Atypical Development

Courses using in-course experiential education:

  • HLST 3120 - Health Policy II: Analyzing Processes of Power and Politics
  • HLST 3310 - Electronic Health Record
  • HLST 4010 - Health Care Ethics: Policy and Management Perspectives
  • HLST 4200 - Applied Research Approaches in Health Studies: Advanced Seminar
  • HLST 4320 - E-Health
  • KINE 1000 - Sociocultural Perspectives in Kinesiology
  • KINE 1020 - Fitness and Health
  • KINE 2049 - Research Methods in Kinesiology
  • KINE 2050 - Analysis of Data in Kinesiology I
  • KINE 3012 - Human Physiology II
  • KINE 3020 - Skilled Performance and Motor Learning
  • KINE 3030 - Biomechanics
  • KINE 3350 - Physical Activity, Health and Aging
  • KINE 3400 - Fitness Consulting and Personal Fitness Training
  • KINE 4010 - Exercise Psychology
  • KINE 4120 - Nutrition Aids in Sports
  • KINE 4375 - Body as Weapon: Martial Arts/Combat Training
  • KINE 4420 - Relaxation: Theory and Application
  • NURS 3770 - Leadership Development: Part I
  • NURS 4610 - Human Experience of Chronic Health Challenges
  • PSYC 1010 - Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 3140 - Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 3410 - Educational Psychology
  • PSYC 3560 - Psychology of Death and Dying
  • PSYC 4030 - Behaviour Modification and Behaviour Therapy
  • PSYC 4080 - Neuropsychology of Abnormal Behaviour

Helpful Resources

YU Experience Hub- Visit the website to learn more about EE across the university, as well as to hear about students' experiences with EE.
Experiential Education Guide- Browse the website to find information about what to expect in your EE courses and resources to help you progress as a learner.
Career Centre- Visit the Career Centre for resources and support around resume and cover letters, job searching and more.

Talk to Us

Would you like to see more experiential education? Do you have a course that would be a good fit for a community partnership? We would like to hear from you. Use this convenient form to contact us!