SS 330 - Experiential Curriculum Design  
Explores the cognitive, social, and psychological foundations of an interactive, experiential learning environment. Participants cultivate their own philosophy of experiential education through exploring experiential learning theory, ecological literacy, results-based lesson planning, thematic instruction, and assessment strategies. Participants design and facilitate a variety of instructional sessions with local middle-school students, peers, and other populations, as well as designing an integrated thematic unit on a topic related to their senior applied research interests. Prerequisite: SS240 or SS241, or permission of instructor.  

Experiential Curriculum Design

Fall 2012

Instructor:                    John Zaber

Required Texts:           Reclaiming Youth At Risk: Our Hope for the Future  Larry K. Brendtro, Martin Brokenleg, Steve Van Bockern


Additional Sources:       Supporting texts, articles, and reference material are located on the reserve shelf

Format:                            Lecture and dialog, student presentations, school visit, hands-on/minds-on work.

Course Objectives:

1.     To become familiar with the components of the experiential learning cycle.

2.    Students will explore the history/philosophy of experiential education and understand the significance of the movement’s evolution.

3.    Students will study the relationship between the philosophy and practice of experiential education.

4.    Students will learn and be able to apply a results-based approach to curriculum planning, develop skills in lesson-planning, and process experiential activities.

5.    Students will examine the relationship of physical space to learning outcomes and curriculum design.

6.    Student will explore the relationship between curriculum design and state standards.

7.     To step beyond personal comfort zones (i.e. take risks) so that students can develop and enhance professional and personal attributes as an educator.

8.     To become familiar with one’s personal learning style and how this can impact oneself as an educator.

9.     To grow comfortable and knowledgeable in the realm of experiential curriculum design.


Essential Questions:

1.     What is experiential?

2.     What makes an experience educational?

3.     Who benefits from an experiential approach to learning?

4.     Is education an art or science?

5.     What makes an educator an effective educator?

Evaluation:                  Assessment of skills and understanding of concepts will be based on:

  •     Professionalism                                     20%
  •     Student Facilitated Session                 10%
  •     Article Summary                                     15%
  •     Classroom Observation                        10%
  •     REACH After School                             15%
  •     Morning Icebreaker                              10%
  •     Final Project                                           20%

Students bring a variety of learning styles to class.  We do our best to support different learning modes by mixing lecture, discussion, hands-on work, and visual information.  Please feel free to let me know what mode works best for you—I will do my best to accommodate your learning style.   If you have a learning problem or documented disability, please check in the Learning Support Coordinator. The Learning Support Coordinator can help you determine what accommodations would be helpful for you in this course.