Stephen F. Austin State University

Field Based Learning

Field Based Learning

Simply put, field-based learning extends the walls of the classroom. Students learn from direct experience (such as internships, service learning, practicum, and experiential learning) in their major field of study.

What does that mean?

• Internships are periods of structured work placements for trainee professionals. "They engage students in a process of active learning that links work experience with opportunities for critical analysis and reflection." Academic internships are a three-way partnership between institutions of higher education, intern site (or community), and the student. They provide hands-on learning opportunities and allow students to collaborate with faculty and community.

• Service learning is a strategy that incorporates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience and strengthen community ties. Through service learning, students use what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to real-life problem solving.

• Practicum is a course that is designed to give students a practical application of studied theory. They provide real-world experience, are useful in evaluating ability, support socialization within the profession, stimulate the development of skills, provide a protected environment for experimentation, and allow new thoughts and perspectives as well as increase motivation for continuing education.

• Experiential Learning is defined in two ways. One way describes the sort of learning that is undertaken by students. In this way, experiential learning involves a direct encounter with what is being studied, instead of merely thinking about it. The other way defines experiential learning as education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life. (http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-explrn.htm)