Camosun logo for print

Applied Learning

Faculty Resources

Applied Learning resources for faculty

These resources have been developed by faculty for faculty. Your feedback is always welcome.

The guide introduces Camosun's Applied Learning model, which has been created to facilitate a cohesive approach to experiential and applied learning. The model is grounded in educational theory and it incorporates the 8 principles of experiential education developed by the National Society for Experiential Education.

Call for Proposals: Capstone Courses

If you have an idea for a Capstone project, please contact your Dean first, and then complete and submit the proposal form by November 15, 2019. Learn more

Funding & Resources for Instructors

Resources are available to assist Camosun College faculty and instructors with incorporating applied learning techniques into your curriculum. Learn more

Faculty Resources

What's in this guide?

The following principles are generic and will be adapted by a faculty working group to best reflect our teaching and learning practices at Camosun College. The first four principles outline the curriculum development process and preparation for an applied learning activity. The final four principles outline the student experience.

Learn more about the model and principles.

Applied Learning Podcasts

In-depth discussions with instructors about applied learning in action.


Yolina Denchev

School of Business

On Curriculum Planning (50 sec)
Listen to the full podcast. (44 min)


Kerry-Ann Dompierre

School of Health and Human Services

Listen to the full podcast. (31 min)


Carl Everitt

Hospitality Management
School of Business

On Authenticity (2 min)
Listen to the full podcast. (54 min)


Diane Gilliland

School of Access

Listen to the full podcast. (46 min)


Carly Hall

Continuing Care
School of Health and Human Services

Listen to the full podcast. (18 min)


Tommy Happynook Jr.

Indigenous Studies
Centre for Indigenous Education & Community Connections

Listen to the full podcast. (58 min)


Imtehaze Heerah

Mech. Engineering
School of Trades & Technology

On Monitoring & Continuous Improvement (1 min)
Listen to the full podcast. (39 min)


Marina Jaffey

School of Business

Listen to the full podcast. (39 min)


Catherine Mack

School of Business

On Intention (40 sec)
On Reflection (1 min)
Listen to the full podcast. (44 min)


Emrys Prussin

School of Arts & Science

Listen to the full podcast. (34 min)


Dan Reeve

Political Science
School of Arts & Science

Listen to the full podcast. (45 min)


Steve Walker-Duncan

Culinary Arts
School of Trades & Technology

On Intention (40 sec)
On Group Orientation & Training (1 min)
Listen to the full podcast. (43 min)


Nancy Yakimoski

Visual Arts
School of Arts & Science

On Acknowledgement (2 min)
On Assessment & Evaluation (1 min)
Listen to the full podcast. (46 min)


Lynelle Yutani

Allied Health & Technologies
School of Health and Human Services

Listen to the full podcast. (38 min)

Are applied learning methods applicable to you?

Do you...

  • engage learners in case studies, labs, or clinical placements?
  • encourage creative expression of course-related concepts and skills?
  • provide opportunities for peer evaluation, reflection or group-problem solving?
  • provide opportunities for learners to engage with content and/or demonstrate their learning via role play, capstone projects, or group presentations?
  • teach co-op students or engage in applied research?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are likely already using some applied learning teaching methods!

Most instructors at Camosun College incorporate applied learning into the design of their courses; they may just not call it applied learning.

Applied learning is process-oriented, complex, dynamic, messy...and fun.

It’s also effective.

A word about 'experiential education' and 'applied learning'

Our approach is a focus on solid, learning-centred teaching strategies grounded in the scholarship of experiential education, represented by the Applied Learning Model (see below). The model is a conceptualization of an approach to teaching based on Eight Principles of Experiential Learning by the National Society for Experiential Education. The Applied Learning Model emphasizes excellence in teaching reflection, application and practice.

As such ‘applied learning’ and ‘experiential education’ are used interchangeably.

A Guided Process

Applied learning is:

  • Not a lock-step process (although it can be used that way when you’re learning how to use it)
  • Adaptable to different contexts, strengths, and teaching styles
  • Allows for emphasis on different principles; in other words, you can begin anywhere. Begin with your strengths
  • Flexible – you can start with any of the eight principles, with the learners, or with community – there’s no right or wrong way to approach the Model
  • A pathway to creating a pedagogically sound learning experience (particularly if all eight principles have been adhered to)

Instructor as Facilitator

In an applied learning classroom, the instructor's role is to:

  • Provide structure for the learning to take place;
  • Provide expertise and guidance;
  • Connect learners to community partners to create authentic and relevant experiences;
  • Allow the learners to engage in:
    • creative thinking
    • problem solving
    • collaboration with one another, the instructor and, when applicable, community partners
  • Monitor activities for effectiveness
  • Assess learning formatively and summatively
  • Apply important elements of teaching and learning:
    • Leading Practices in Curriculum
      • Clear understanding of  why application or experience is the best way for students to achieve the learning outcome(s)
      • Teaching, learning, and assessment are  aligned with course learning outcomes
  • Conduct work in alignment with Camosun values of:
    • Lifelong learning
    • Positive and supportive student experiences
    • An inclusive community
    • An environment of respect and safety for all
    • Our relationships with one another
    • Indigenization

Walk through the 8 Principles of Applied Learning

While the eight principles are represented in the Model in the order they appear on the National Society for Experiential Education website, curriculum planning and working with students is rarely (if ever) a step-by-step process, particularly when students are engaged in an active, applied learning experience.

The Applied Learning Model is therefore meant to serve as a guide. It contains the essential elements to consider when providing an experiential learning activity. It is a simplification of a very complex set of processes. In the planning phase (innermost circle) for example you:

  1. Will identify and plan to teach a concept that students tend to struggle with at the level of understanding or doing.
  2. Begin to think about whether it fits with an applied or experiential approach.
  3. Set the intention, which includes  planning the activity in terms of how it will look, who it will involve, what you will need, how the learning space will be set up, and determine the timeframe (e.g. is it be a single class activity or something bigger?)
  4. Want to ensure authenticity, relevance and connection to what’s going on in Greater Victoria or beyond.
  5. May want to share your planning with other faculty or with, students. Or you may decide to conduct some research, reflect and adapt your plan based on what you learn;
  6. Come back to your intention: How am I engaging students in thinking about this concept? How will I know they are learning?
  7. Begin to think about assessment – what are some fun, effective ways to determine if the students are learning while they are learning? And how can the assessments inform my next steps? How often should assessments take place? You can talk to colleagues, watch some videos on assessment, or talk to the faculty in CETL for ideas, guidance or information.
  8. Plan activities that are aligned with the course learning outcomes and get the learners thinking, problem solving, working together; maybe it takes them out of the classroom or brings people from the community in.
  9. Think about how you will explain to the group the purpose of the activity, and how you will all work together, what is expected of each participant, how they will be assessed, the benefits of stepping out of the comfort zone (not too far or they won’t learn), the skills they will learn and the abilities they will develop.
  10. Pull together the materials, supplies, guests, learning space needed.

Principle 1: Intention

All parties must be clear from the outset why application or experience is the chosen approach to the learning that is to take place and to the knowledge that will be demonstrated, applied or result from it. Intention represents the purposefulness that enables experience to become knowledge and, as such, is deeper than the goals, objectives, and activities that define the experience.


Students, faculty and community partners need to know:

  • What students are learning and what they will be able to do, know, or understand as a result of the learning experience
  • Why experience is the best way to learn the concept, acquire the skill...

Going Deeper


  • This is the recommended starting place. Remember it’s ok (and is even recommended!) to start small.
  • Once you have determined what the applied learning element will be, you may want to skip straight across the Model to “authenticity” as these two principles go hand in hand.
  • Ensure the learning experience is:
    • Engaging
    • Related/relevant to current best  practices within the field
    • Connected to current businesses/agencies/organizations that graduates from the program are likely to be involved with or serve


  • Insert link to CoLab site (available early 2019) to find:
    • Current list of speakers across a broad range of topics
      • External
      • College-based
    • List of current projects that are seeking partners
    • List of community businesses/agencies/organizations seeking partnership with Camosun faculty and students


What follows is an example for activities on reconciliation as defined in the Final Report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (2015). This example could be adapted for use across disciplines.

To have learners reflect on the effects of residential schools, the power of resilience and the importance of reconciliation to the self as a Canadian citizen

Principle 2: Curriculum Planning

It is critical that teachers have solid foundational knowledge and information about (and ideally experience of) the topic to support a successful learning experience. From the earliest stages of the experience/program, it is important for teachers to maintain focus on the identified intentions, adhering to them as goals, objectives and activities are defined.

The resulting plan should include those intentions and be referred to on a regular basis by all parties. At the same time, it should be flexible enough to allow for adaptations as the experience unfolds.


  • Plan applied learning activities with a focus on your identified “intention”
  • Share the plan with the students on the first day, emphasizing the Intention (i.e. the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of the applied learning experience).
  • Orient the group, post the plan where all can access it
  • Refer to the plan regularly, like a compass, to ensure you’re on track
    • Be flexible
    • Allow for adaptations as the experience unfolds
  • Set all learning goals, objectives and activities to meet your intention

Going Deeper

Applied Learning courses/activities must meet the following elements of curriculum design (accomplished through a focus on active, experiential learning):

  • Outcomes-based: What should the learner know and be able to do at the end of this course/program?
  • Assessment aligned to outcomes: How will learners and teachers know if the learning outcomes have been accomplished?
  • Activities aligned to outcomes and assessment: What needs to be done to achieve the learning outcomes?

Once you have set the intention to use an Applied Learning approach you might want to:

  • Connect with a faculty member known for their applied learning approach (any of the people listed here will be able to help)


Consider the markers of leading practices in curriculum found in the Leading Practices in Curriculum document (2012) PDF


Each of the following activities would include debrief in circle and a personal reflection (written, audio, video, artwork with artist’s statement). Instructor and students could choose a couple of these activities together.

Note Some of this information will be difficult for people to hear so I have arranged for support people to be in attendance to assist those in need. Care is taken to “close the circle” and ensure we all leave feeling grounded and safe.

  • The group is prepared for this experience through activities designed to create a “sense of belonging” for each participant. Ensuring a sense of community through intentional activities to build trust, empathy and compassion in the group is essential.
  • Hearing first hand accounts from residential school survivors
  • Guest speaker (contact Elders Voices coordinator)
  • Blanket exercise (contact Indigenous Education & Community Connections or Dean’s office in HHS)
  • Circle – Indigenous pedagogy
  • Guest speaker – Monique Gray Smith on resilience
  • Shelley Joseph, Martin Brokenleg, Murray Sinclair – Reconciliation
  • Personal action plan for reconciliation or resurgence/re-emergence


Principle 3: Authenticity

The experience must have a real- world context and/or be useful and meaningful in reference to an applied setting or situation. This means that it should be designed in concert with those who will be affected by or use it, or in response to a real situation.


Ideally the applied learning experience...

  • Provides opportunities for students to engage with a current issue or solve a problem that:
    • Is identified by the students and the teacher as having meaning and relevance in society
    • Requires critical thinking and brings theory into practice
    • Requires students to collaborate with one another, the teacher and community partners/experts

Going Deeper

Ideally the applied learning experience...

  • Provides opportunities for students to engage with a current issue or solve a problem that is:
    • Identified by, and solved in partnership with a business or organization

The instructors’ role is to support students to identify an issue or problem in the community or partner with a business or organization that has requested help to solve an issue or problem.


Consider the markers of leading practices in curriculum found in the Leading Practices in Curriculum document (2012) PDF

Example: Reconciliation activities

  • Each of the activities involve time spent with people who have first- hand knowledge of residential schools and transgenerational trauma
  • Learners reflect and create a personal action plan on a current national issue and initiative as expressed in the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.


Principle 4: Reflection

Reflection is a critical component of applied learning, as it transforms a simple experience to a learning experience. For knowledge to be discovered and internalized, the learner must test assumptions and hypotheses about the outcomes of decisions and actions taken, then weigh the outcomes against past learning and future implications.

This reflective process is integral to all phases of experiential learning, from identifying intention and choosing the experience, to considering preconceptions and observing how they change as the experience unfolds. Reflection is also an essential tool for adjusting the experience and measuring outcomes.


Reflection is critical as it:

  • transforms a simple experience to a learning experience
  • is integral at all eight phases of experiential learning as presented in the Applied Learning Model
    • The instructor engages in reflection during the planning process
    • The students, instructor and any other partners in the learning process reflect throughout the applied learning experience
    • The instructor models reflection for the learners; metacognition is explicit; intentions are explicit to the students
  • Is an essential tool for:
    • adjusting the learning experience when necessary
    • Measuring outcomes

Educational neuroscientists emphasize that intentional engagement in reflective practice is key to “cementing” learning and enhancing application, transfer, retention, and recall. It does so by facilitating patterning and meaning making, creating multiple pathways to learning, and providing a forum for feedback (Stanchfield, 2013).

Going Deeper

Under development


Under development


  • Each of the reconciliation activities would include a debrief in circle and a personal reflection (written, audio, video, artwork with artist’s statement)
  • Personal action plan for reconciliation or resurgence/re-emergence

Principle 5: Group Orientation & Training

For the full value of the experience to be accessible to both the learner and the learning facilitator(s), and to any involved organizational partners, it is essential that they be prepared with important background information about each other and about the context and environment in which the experience will operate.

Once that baseline of knowledge is established, ongoing structured development opportunities should also be included to expand the learner's appreciation of the context and skill requirements of their work.


  • Preparation for the group orientation includes ensuring necessary background information, training instructions and resources are available. Participants need to know about:
    • each other
    • the context and environment in which the experience will operate

Going Deeper

  • Structured development opportunities designed to expand the learner's ability to communicate the context and skill requirements of their work or academia are encouraged


Schalay’nung Sxwey’ga Emerging cross-cultural pedagogy in the academy. By Lorna Williams & Michele Tanaka


Use Lil’wat Principles of Learning to set the expectations for learners to work together as a community, be responsible for their own learning while looking out for the well-being of others, always striving to do their best. The principles provide a community-based approach to group orientation. This is a great way to incorporate Indigenization.

The paper in the resources section describes a course at UVic that incorporated the Lil’wat Principles.

Principle 6: Monitoring & Adaptation

Any learning activity will be dynamic and changing, and the parties involved all bear responsibility for ensuring that the experience, as it is in process, continues to provide the richest learning possible, while affirming the learner. It is important that there be a feedback loop related to learning intentions and quality objectives and that the structure of the experience be sufficiently flexible to permit change in response to what that feedback suggests.

While reflection provides input for new hypotheses and knowledge based in documented experience, other strategies for observing progress against intentions and objectives should also be in place. Monitoring and continuous improvement represent the formative evaluation tools.


As applied learning activities are dynamic and changing, it is important that all parties involved work together throughout the process to ensure the richest learning possible. This can be accomplished by:

  • Collecting ongoing feedback related to learning intentions through formal (e.g. oral or written surveys) and informal (e.g. observations, questions, student self-reflection) mechanisms
  • Being flexible and responsive to what the feedback suggests
  • Using ungraded, informal assessment FOR learning to gauge where the learners’ level of understanding is at the current moment, as well as next steps in the learning process
  • Adjusting accordingly to meet the emerging needs of the class
  • ‘Blowing the whistle’ when you need to stop the action and check in

Going Deeper

Assessments are often ungraded and informal. Their aim is to provide both the students and instructor with a gauge of where their level of understanding or ability is at the current moment, and enable the instructor to adjust accordingly to meet the emerging needs of the class. Do I need to explain that concept differently? Do I need to backtrack two steps and catch everyone up to where we are now? Should I change my pedagogical approach to engage this group of students?

Formative assessments are particularly important because they allow you to make changes in the moment that affect students’ learning. In contrast, end- of-term evaluations informs and affects future classes and learning. In addition, formative evaluations signal to students that you are indeed interested in what and how they are learning, and in their responses to your teaching.


Difference between Assessment and Evaluation
Some examples of Formative Evaluations


Circle pedagogy teaches/encourages:

  • Oral reflection on what was learned
  • Asking questions to deepen understanding
  • Deep listening to others’ responses
  • Demonstration of compassion
  • Consideration and expression of personal responsibility for reconciliation

Instructor teaches learners, and models what respectful conduct looks like when hosting an elder or community member.

Principle 7: Assessment & Evaluation

Assessment is formative and is a means to develop and refine the specific learning goals and outcomes identified during the planning stages of the experience. Evaluation is summative and provides comprehensive data about the experiential process as a whole and whether it has met the intended learning outcomes.


Systematically document outcomes and processes with regard to initial intentions & outcomes.

Revisit the initial learning goals:

  • Assess and refine the original learning goals and use comprehensive data (e.g. assessment of students work – is formative or ‘assessment AS learning’; observations; feedback; reflections; peer feedback; community partner feedback; product; collaboration, professionalism, etc.)
  • Use comprehensive data about the experiential process as a whole to evaluate whether it has met the intentions.

Going Deeper

Develop and refine formal or summative evaluations of student experience and process:

  • Of the learners
  • Of the learning experience – involve learners in evaluation of the learning experience:
    • What worked? Repeat
  • Did we meet the learning outcomes? How do we know?
  • What didn’t work? Adjust
  • Refine the specific, original learning goals identified in the curriculum


Under development


Evaluate (self, instructor) personal action plans for reconciliation or resurgence/re-emergence

Learners reflect daily on how they engaged with Lil’wat Principles, how others engaged with the principles, what they learned about reconciliation, what they learned about themselves, and what they learned about the community/group.

Principle 8: Acknowledgement

Recognition of learning and impact occur throughout the experience by way of the reflective and monitoring processes and through reporting, documentation and sharing of accomplishments. All parties to the experience should be included in the recognition of progress and accomplishment. Culminating documentation and celebration of learning and impact help provide closure and sustainability to the experience.


Recognition and celebration of learning and impact on students, faculty and community partners. As such, they are an important part of the experiential learning process (e.g. reflection, monitoring processes) and:

  • help provide closure and sustainability
  • can be done through reporting, documentation and sharing of accomplishments
  • should involve all parties

Going Deeper

Under development


Under development


A recognition ceremony of the work completed as a class is a great way to acknowledge learning & personal growth.

Often family and friends are invited to ceremony and learners share what they have learned, gift one another, thank guest speakers and share food.

Additional reading and resources


This guide was developed in consultation with the following resources:

Association for Co-operative Education, BC/Yukon. (2017). Comparative matrix of co-operative education with other forms of work-integrated education and work-integrated learning. Retrieved from

Barr, R. B., & Tagg, J. (1995). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, (6), 12. Retrieved from

Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Van Bockern, S. (2002). Reclaiming youth at risk: Our hope for the future. Bloomington, Ind.: Solution Tree. Retrieved from

Camosun College. (2012). Leading practices in curriculum: Principles and standards for leading educational practices in curriculum at Camosun College.  

Camosun College. (2016). Strategic plan 2016 – 2021.

Camosun College. (2017). Experiential learning literature review Camosun Library.

Camosun College. (2017). Social innovation in higher education: A preliminary review of the research Camosun Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Fullan, M., Langworthy, M., & Barber, M. (2014). A rich seam: How new pedagogies find deep learning Toronto, Ontario: MaRS Discovery District. Retrieved from

Grant, M. (2016). Aligning skill development to labour market need. Ottawa: Conference Board of Canada.

Harrison, A. (2017) Skills, Competencies and Credentials. Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario.

Johnson, K. A., Grazulis, J., & White, J. K. (2014). Sleep out on the quad: An opportunity for experiential education and servant based leadership. Critical Questions In Education, 5(3), 233-241.  Retrieved from

Kenny, N., Berensen, C., Chick, N., Johnson, C., Keegan, F., Read, E., et al. (2017). A developmental framework for teaching expertise in postsecondary education presented at the international society for the scholarship of teaching and learning (ISSOTL) conference. Message posted to

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(2), 193-212.

Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: FT Press.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1991).   Situated learning: Legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  

National Society for Experiential Education (2013). Eight Principles of Good Practice for All Experiential Learning Activities. Retrieved from

Reason, R. D. (2003). Student variables that predict retention: Recent research and new developments. NASPA Journal, 40(4), 172-191. doi:10.2202/1949-6605.1286

Rethinking higher education curricula: Increasing impact through experiential, work-integrated, and community-engaged learning. (2017). Toronto: University of Toronto.

Seaman, J., Brown, M., & Quay, J. (2017). The evolution of experiential learning theory: Tracing lines of research in the JEE. Journal of Experiential Education, 40(4), NP1. Retrieved from

 Stanchfield, J. (December 2013). The brain, learning, and reflection. Message posted to

Stirling, A., Kerr, G., MacPherson, E., Banwell, J., Bandealy, A., & Battaglia, A. (2017). Do postsecondary internships address the four learning modes of experiential learning theory? an exploration through document analysis. Canadian Journal of Higher Education, 47(1), 27-48. Retrieved from

Waddell, J. (2015). Bridging the theory/practice divide: Experiential learning for a critical, people-centred economy (SSHRC knowledge synthesis grant: new ways of learning final report) Retrieved from  

Williams, L., & Tanaka, M. (2007). Schalay'nung Sxwey'ga: Emerging cross-cultural pedagogy in the academy. Educational Insights, 11(3), 1. Retrieved from

We need your help! Share your applied learning experiences

This site is an evolving resource. If you have any applied learning experiences that would be interesting for other faculty and staff to learn about, please share them! Your participation will make this site a more robust and useful tool for the Camosun community and beyond.

Contact the Applied Learning Coordinator

Contact Us
Camosun College Lansdowne
3100 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria BC V8P 5J2
Camosun College Interurban
4461 Interurban Rd
Victoria BC V9E 2C1
  • 250–370–3000
  • 1–877–554–7555 (toll-free)

©1996–2022 Camosun College | Victoria BC, Canada | Printed: July 6, 2022 at 11:40 am Change Everything logo for print