Synonymous with leadership in higher education, Western University is in the top 1% of universities worldwide, offering more than 400 different undergraduate specializations, majors, and minors and attracting 33,200+ students annually. Experiential learning is the cornerstone of their student’s unique career readiness journeys. They needed a trusted technology provider and platform to streamline and capture the entirety of experiential opportunities and student engagement at their decentralized institution – consisting of 12 faculties on their main campus and 3 affiliated university college campuses. After receiving word of Orbis’s latest Outcome updates, their team identified Orbis and our Outcome solution to build their new experiential learning framework, coined the ‘Western Experience Catalogue.’ This catalogue serves as a digital, remotely accessible, one-stop resource connecting all students, faculty, and partners of the institution to experiential learning opportunities and benefits but goes a step further by integrating a deeply refined opportunity search tool that is strategically aligned with a well-researched list of categories for funneling experiential learning most relevant to each Western student’s unique learning pathways and aims.
The Right Information, People, Channels, Format, & Time
Built on the founding principle of “Vertias et Utilitas,” or, ‘Truth and Usefulness’, Western University has a longstanding, near 143–year history of approaching higher learning delivery with the intention that knowledge acquired by students add value to the student and our global community through purposeful application. A research–intensive institution and founding member of the U-15 (Canada’s group of leading research universities) Western is known for its theory of knowledge exchange, a concept involving getting the right information, in front of the right people, through the right channels, in the right format, at the right time, for optimal impact.
When confronted with the challenges of our global pandemic, their team relied on Outcome to not only remotely scale and streamline experiential learning for their decentralized campus but yield data-driven specificity that puts the right remote opportunities, in front of the right students, when a connection to betterment is needed most. Outcome’s unique data-tagging structure enables their institution to measure the overall impact of experiential programs not just for their students but for stakeholders and communities. Visual dashboards show industry participation, community impact, and the types of ongoing experiences broken. These insights further the University’s mission to provide delivery of opportunities to their students and recent graduates while more greatly grasping growth opportunity areas – at scale.
“When Orbis announced the Outcome Plus updates, we knew quickly that we wanted to explore what they could mean for our campus. We were particularly excited about how the catalogue and transcript tools would interact with the network of competencies and began dreaming up a strategy before we even upgraded our site. The tools presented a solution to a problem we hadn’t even formally defined yet.”
– Tea Hadwen, Digital Engagement Coordinator, Western University
Search with Purpose
To elevate the user experience and significance of this Experiential Catalogue, Western’s experiential and co-op teams conducted thorough research through all levels of staff, faculty, and students, to identify and craft a highly filterable search experience reflective of their institution’s ongoing experiential learning needs. Western’s new Experience Catalogue is innovative in that it allows users to search for their experiential learning opportunity by selecting ‘Available Experience Type’, ‘Audience’, ‘Delivery Mode’, and ‘Faculty/Campus’. ‘Available Experience Type’ segments experiential learning at Western University as: ‘Capstone’, ‘Case-based Learning’, ‘Co-curricular,’ ‘Co-op’, ‘Community Engaged Learning’, ‘Event’, ‘Faculty-led Study Abroad’, ‘Field Experience’, ‘Industry Project’, ‘Internship – Short Term or Long Term’, ‘Practicum or Placement’, ‘Research/Scholarly Creation’, and ‘Simulation’. ‘Audience’ options include ‘Graduate, (coming in winter 2020)’, ‘Staff/Faculty’, and ‘Undergraduate’. ‘Delivery Mode’ allows the student to outline their preferred method of experiential learning as either ‘Hybrid’, ‘In-person’, or ‘Remote’. ‘Faculty/Campus’ gives students the option to select their specific field of study and/or campus location. These time-saving options funnel hundreds of opportunities into a subset of the most relevant and useful opportunities for applied learning and skill development to each end-user’s personal learning pathway, location on-or-off campus, aims, and pace of higher education. Additional features under each opportunity include a detailed description of the opportunity, the ability to ‘pin’, ‘heart’, and/or follow-through with a call-to-action, like registering for an event, creating a search with purpose not yet seen with Outcome users.
“A Life Design Mindset,” Delivered.
At Western, the focus of career readiness is not just on students finding the jobs that they want but on students discovering which problems they want to help solve. Likewise, it’s not just about finding a ‘calling’ or ‘passion’ but about building a life well-lived. Supporting the transition from student to graduates with this holistic approach requires a common, easily understood thread of connection between students, faculty, institutions, employers, and partners. With the Western Experience Catalogue all stakeholders can easily communicate, understand, and benefit from experiential learning that seamlessly interacts with those needed to give it relevance and meaning. With all facets of Career Education, Co-op, Co-curricular, and Experiential Management now operationalized, Western has another arm for delivery of their promise of a life design mindset; giving students and graduates a competitive edge in the attainment of their long-term livelihood. The Western Experience Catalogue easily delivers and tracks and recognizes and reports on the diverse wealth of skills and credentials students developed while attending the university, and through the student transcript module each graduate can now own and articulate their unique higher learning pathways, experiences, and skills to future employers (or investors) making higher education at Western University a more purposeful experience conducive to the individual long-term livelihood and goals of their students and graduates.
“With a focus on strengths-based learning and a life design mindset, we hope to empower students to have the skills and confidence to successfully navigate their career paths, thoughtfully engage in communities, and build a meaningful life. At our highly decentralized school, our catalogue serves as a single, unified place for current and prospective students to learn about the breadth of opportunities to gain experience at Western at their own pace.”
– Tea Hadwen, Digital Engagement Coordinator, Western University
For more information on the Western Experience Catalogue, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Outcome and campus partnership with Orbis connect with Emily Eley, email@example.com