Counsellor and student in discussion, sitting down, counsellor wearing plaid shirt and bun in his hair

Identifying & Mapping Experiential Education Within Counselor Education, with Guests Laurie O. Campbell, ED.D., Interdisciplinary Learning Science Researcher and Dr. Kathryn Babb, Ph D., Counselor Educator at Capella University, By: Zoe Mills

In this episode, we are joined by two distinguished experts: Laurie O. Campbell, Ed.D., a Learning Science Researcher, and Dr. Kathryn Babb, Ph.D., a Counsellor Educator at Capella University. Together, they present their scoping review on the concept of experiential education within the context of counselor education. Their investigation reveals a notable conflation of terms such as active learning, real-world learning, and experiential learning, which are, in reality, distinct in meaning. 

Their research uncovers a prevalent trend in the misappropriation of the term “experiential learning,” with numerous references actually denoting something different. When examining articles and studies within a five-year timeframe, it becomes evident that the genuine discussion of true experiential learning is less frequent than previously assumed. 

The crux of their focused exploration is the imperative to move beyond mere reflection within the experiential learning paradigm. They advocate for a more comprehensive approach involving the seamless integration of learning to truly take effect and ask us to ponder an education offering less attached to grading and more to reflection. Their insights compel us to expand our understanding of experiential learning, encouraging us to perceive every experience as a catalyst for growth, particularly through the lens of learning from failures. 

Ultimately, their dialogue ignites the idea that embracing imperfection is not only essential but also a potent component of the journey toward accelerating one’s career and refining the self-assessment cycle. This perspective is deeply rooted in the thinking of John Dewey and science, noting that high-impact, real-world experiences are a cornerstone to evolving and informing students’ journeys and career exploration when integrated through the entire cycle of EL alongside counselor educators. How we prepare counselor educators to do that, and set a standard for implementation, remains an open conversation and an opportunity for us all. 

 

Key Takeaways From This Podcast:

 

  • Distinction Between Terms: The review highlights that terms like active learning, real-world learning, and experiential learning are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. This suggests a need for better clarification and differentiation in the way these terms are used in counselor education.

  • Misuse of Experiential Learning: The researchers found that many references to experiential learning might not actually be discussing true experiential learning. This points to a potential misunderstanding or misuse of the term within the field.

  • Integration of Learning: The study emphasizes the importance of moving beyond mere reflection in experiential learning. Instead, it calls for a deeper integration of the learning experience, suggesting that simply reflecting on an experience is insufficient for effective learning.

  • Embracing Imperfection: The conversation highlights the idea that making mistakes and experiencing imperfections is an essential part of the learning process. It encourages a shift in mindset towards embracing failure as a catalyst for growth and improvement.

  • Focusing less on grades & more on the reflection and integration of the experience itself: Does our current grading system hold students back from deeper understanding of what they’ve learned and how they can attribute their new skillsets and knowledge toward their personal and professional growth.

  • Accelerating Career Development: The research underscores that experiential learning, when properly understood and applied, can significantly contribute to career development. It suggests that practical, real-world experience is one of the most valuable assets for learners.

  • Scoping Reviews Have Power: Scoping reviews help us not just understand what our colleagues are doing and saying but growth opportunity areas – giving us an opportunity to challenge the status quo and propose new assessments of value, new perspectives, to evolve practices in education for us all.

  • Reframing Experiential Learning: This research challenges the traditional understanding of experiential education and encourages a more nuanced and integrated approach. The findings of this scoping review have the potential to shape how experiential education is understood and applied in the field of counselor education. EL is not just something we do and we need to push the scope of it beyond reflection and into integration to take away the full value of it. 

 

Meet Our Guests 

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Dr. Kathryn Babb, Ph. D., Counselor Educator, Capella University

Dr. Kathryn Babb, Ph.D., is a Counselor Educator at Capella University. Prior to earning her Ph.D. at the University of Central Florida, she was a professional school counselor at Title 1 schools. Her areas of research include (a) data-driven recruitment of school counseling master’s students, (b) retention of professional school counselors, (c) collaborative counseling between school counselors and clinician counselors, and (d) practical teaching approaches in counselor education.

 

woman smiling at camera wearing black blazer, blue t-shirt, black rimmed glasses and brown hair

Laurie O Campbell, Ed. D., Interdisciplinary Learning Science Researcher

Laurie O. Campbell, Ed.D., is an interdisciplinary Learning Science researcher who investigates contemporary research questions and whose research foci includes: (a) harnessing instructional design to foster identity and inclusivity among underserved and underrepresented populations especially as it relates to STEM contexts; (b) the development of safe learning environments (e.g. civility, cyberbullying, and psychosocial awareness); and (c) the design and implementation of technology-supported active personalized learning for knowledge building.

 

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