Stories Through Research Wrap-up: Fostering Tenacity through Experiential Education

In the fifth (and final!) instalment of Stories Through Research, we explored ‘Learning Through Experience: Fostering Tenacity Through Experiential Education’ at UofT. By holding space for the complexities, needs, and experiences of students, staff and stakeholders in Experiential Learning (EL) at UofT, we began to explore how could the benefits of EL occur throughout students’ whole time at the university?

What We Learned: 

Through the data, we learned that the key to EL is fostering tenacity.

When EL stakeholders foster tenacity in students, in themselves and in the process, they learn through novelty, interdependence, and positive failure, leading to not only more tenacious stakeholders, but a strengthened approach to learning and education at the university.

We found that fostering tenacity of organized under three themes:

  • Securing New Know-How: involves the need to recognize the newness that comes with learning experiences for students, instructors, and the university as they move out of the classroom into novel learning spaces that require different—often new and unrecognized—skills.
  • The Whole Is More Than The Parts: addresses the need to foster relationship-, partnership-, and connection-building in the learning process, which requires working with others, whether that be students working on teams or instructors and staff working with workplace- or community-partners.
  • Encouraging Positive Failure: suggests that learning involves taking risks, sometimes making mistakes and failing, and working through the uncertainty and discomfort to foster determination to try again and learn to do it better.

Through themes, insights, and Design Principles for Learning Through Experience,  we can all begin to imagine making learning experiential throughout the student experience, whether in the classroom or in EL opportunities. In this way, we can provide the impact of experiential learning to more students and in more ways without compromising access and inclusion. To learn more about what we learned, you can visit the report linked below. Additional reports from the Stories Through Research series are available at:

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