EL Resources

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 experientiallearning@ucalgary.ca to be connected to an Experiential Learning 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. While this is specific to WIL, many of the tips could apply to other placement based EL activities.

If there have been any changes to your EL experience, project or placement based, and you consulted with risk and insurance, it is recommended that you reach out and confirm if the changes impact insurance coverage, or risk to the student or institution. Your waivers and consent forms may require modification. If you are unsure about risk and insurance for your EL experience, and have questions, contact riskmgmt@ucalgary.ca. Be prepared to provide details for your course or program, including the time of experience, number of students, and any prior details for consultations.

Yes. You can access the Critical Reflection Learning Module as a tool to facilitate learning outcomes, assessment and evaluation from experiential learning opportunities. To view the module, follow this link. For additional information or supports, please email experientiallearning@ucalgary.ca and an Experiential Learning team member will be able to support you.

Related content 

Transitioning from Hands-On to Online Experiential Learning 


List of Resources for Online Experiential Learning

Learn more >>