Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning courses take the student beyond the normal eclassroom into an experiential learning opportunity. These experiential learning activities range from observerships and practicums to internships, mentorships, and capstone courses, to independent research, portfolios, projects, and theses.

The Experiential Learning Process

The Experiential Learning Process at Missional University is rooted in three foundational Biblical concepts:  1) the Old Testament concept that integrates "observing" with following; 2) the New Testament concept of "disciple" as a learner who follows the master teacher, and 3) the New Testament concept of "witness" as the person who explains what he has seen and heard. These form the three distinct learning processes of "Observatio," "Discipulus," and "Testimonium."  We have chosen to represent these concepts with the Latin terms taken from the Latin translation of the Scripture as a way of signaling to students the meaning of each learning process.  

Phase One:  Observatio = Shadowing Professional Practitioners  

OBSERVATIO:  Learning your profession by carefully observing accomplished practitioners

Integrated within an ecourse, observation assignments provide students the opportunity to observe and reflect upon course content as seen practiced by career-related professionals.


Phase Two:  Discipulus = Becoming a Professional Practitioner  

DISCIPULUS:  Learning how to practice the disciplines of your profession

Integrated within an ecourse, practicums provide students the opportunity to practice or implement concurrent course learning. A period of practical experience & training for a student that is supervised by an expert or specialist in a particular field of practice. A period of guidance, direction, and support by an expert or specialist focusing on personal and professional growth and development.
Applying Practicing Developing


Phase Three:  Testimonium = Becoming a Professional Leader

TESTIMONIUM:  Learning how to give an evidence-based presentation of what you have learned

A multifaceted project that serves as a final academic experience that demonstrates the student’s mastery of the program content and practices. Introduction and practice in statistical and ethnographic research methods in an applied research project A final academic paper that documents the results of a demonstration project of research that indicates the student’s mastery of the program material
Synthesizing Assessing Creating


Types of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning theory is a holistic theory, which emphasizes how experiences, including cognitive and environmental factors, as well as emotions, influence the learning process. Simply put, experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as "learning through reflection on doing.” [Felicia Patrick, Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation through Educational Games, pg 1003] These emphases distinguish experiential learning theory (ELT) from other learning theories. The term “experiential” is used therefore to differentiate ELT both from cognitive learning theories, which tend to emphasize cognition over affect, and behavioral learning theories that deny any role for subjective experience in the learning process. Below are links to further information.


Understanding "Missionals" & "Discipulus"

The curriculum at Missional University incorporates a series of subject area-specific "missionals" as a means of preparing the student for a lifelong mission in the service of God within their respective academic disciplines. The term "missional" is an adjective that means "of or relating to a mission."   A "missional" is a learning event where the student engages the practice of his or her mission rather than theoretical or laboratory professional studies. "Missional Discipulus" refers to a learner who is preparing for mission within a specific vocational or professional area of expertise.  As a disciple learns the "ways" of the master, so students learn from practitioners who guide their professional development.  Learning experiences at Missional University incorporate "missional" events and "discipulus" formation opportunities in order to equip students to become missional professionals and leaders in their chosen fields of endeavors. For more information, please see the School of Experiential Learning.