Experiential Learning Resources for Teaching and Learning Continuity

Course disruption can be especially challenging when the course includes experiential learning (EL). Simply put, online EL will not fully replicate an in-person experience. In this unprecedented global event, we must consider alternate arrangements. With intentional design and assessment, online EL can facilitate some of the knowledge and skill development that would normally occur in-person. This page lists some resources to get you started on thinking through how you might approach the task.

What is Experiential Learning (EL)?

Experiential learning (EL) is learning-by-doing that bridges knowledge and experience through critical reflection. Using intentionally designed and assessed activities, EL enables students to increase understanding, challenge and advance perspectives, clarify values, develop and hone their skills and promote new ways of thinking and doing. These opportunities prepare students to lead and/or respond to change and thrive in an increasingly complex world.

The Experiential Learning Plan for the University of Calgary (2020-25) identifies five categories and 28 EL activities:

Co-curricular EL (CCEL)

University organized-experiences occurring outside the curriculum. Includes accelerators, co-curricular internships, competitions, hackathons, immersive personal development programs, paraprofessional placements/on-campus employment and supported volunteer experiences.

Community-Engaged Learning (CEL)

Activities designed in partnership with community organizations to address a community-identified need. Includes co-curricular CEL, community-engaged research, curricular CEL projects/placements, knowledge-keeper guided learning and land-based education.

Curriculum-Integrated EL

Activities that empower learners to practice and enhance their disciplinary learning and skill development. Includes case studies, creative performance/exhibits, design/project-based learning, field schools, international/cross-cultural learning, laboratories, pitch competitions, simulations and studios.

Research-Based EL

Activities that develop students’ essential skills and enhance their capacity for creativity, innovation, and discovery by contributing to a research project. Includes course-based research projects, individual research projects/studentships and research assistantships.

Work-Integrated Learning (WIL)

A model and process of curricular EL which integrates a student’s academic studies in a workplace/practice setting. WIL includes a partnership of an academic institution, a host organization, and a student. Includes capstone projects, consulting projects, cooperative education, internships and professional/clinical/practice/field experience/practica.


During this unprecedented time, it is important to reflect on how circumstances are differentially impacting others. If your community or industry partner has postponed the activity, set a future time to check-in and keep your plans and activities flexible. If the EL activity has been cancelled, consider alternate community partners who may benefit from and be interested in remote support. If this is not a possibility, consider the teaching and learning approaches outlined in the EL resources pages linked above. 

You do not need to navigate these circumstances alone. Email Raegan Penkoff (rrobb@ucalgary.ca) to be connected to an Experiential Education Team member. 

CEWIL has created this page with helpful tips on onboarding and supervising students remotely, as well as tips for students when fulfilling a WIL placement at home.

The federal government made changes to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program and the Student Work Placement Program (SWPP) in early April. The flexibilities introduced for each program are unique.

Canada Summer Jobs: Employers who were successful in their application to Canada Summer Jobs will be notified in early May. Flexibilities include an increased wage subsidy, extension of the employment period and the possibility of offering part-time employment through CSJ.

Student Work Placement Program: The SWPP incentivizes the creation of new work-integrated learning placements for internships, cooperative education, applied research projects, and paid practicums. Key changes were made to the SWPP in order to preserve quality WIL placements through Canada’s COVID-19 response and recovery. Postsecondary institutions can now apply for the wage subsidy and serve as the employer of record for WIL placements. Employers may also postpone their intended start date in order to avoid rescinding placements and students can work from home. Employers can also apply to the program before finalizing their recruitment efforts. The SWPP is managed for ESDC by a series of delivery partners including Magnet.

Yes. Email Raegan Penkoff (rrobb@ucalgary.ca) to be directed to an Experiential Education Team member. 

Related content 

Transitioning from Hands-On to Online Experiential Learning 


List of Resources for Online Experiential Learning

Learn more >>