Guiding Principle 5) Grounding Education Principle: Experiential-Service Model – Next Generation Education
Observing the performance of contemporary educational systems, and a long term view of experiential education and the service (Extension) side of the Land-grant system, we suggest that there is a more dynamic and results oriented model that could be developed and utilized for the RRES (see Diagram 7). The main objectives of this model are to connect the project benefactors to real-world learning, and also create a better flow of benefits to the public at large.
Diagram 7: Depicts the flow of the “Experiential-Service Model, the Next Generation of Education”.
Communities and citizen are in great need of what institutions of higher learning have to offer. However the flow of knowledge out of the institution is not adequate. The flow of knowledge (and services) include, but are not limited to 1) student practical experience, 2) training in entrepreneurship/commercialization, and 3) technical assistance with a innovative dynamism outside of traditional pedagogical realms.
In our proposed model the institutions of learning would focus on a more interactive (hands-on) discovery approach for
Teaching/Learning (Sharing – in the center of diagram 7). This would be directly tied to an Outreach/Service (bottom center) function which would make the educational component of the RCEP more applied and also develop a community benefits model that would be perpetually expanding.
The over-arching theme, or driver, would be the needs of communities (businesses, organizations, institutions, individuals) (bottom circle) which, when fulfilled, provides incentives for the creation of more programs that fulfill needs and are more benefits based. As more and more students are reached, and the subsequent learning programs are expanded, there will be a resultant expansion of the domains for learning and research.
Additionally the Experiential-Service Model for delivery of educational programs emphasizes “Experiential Learning”. The highlights of this approach are to allow students (constituents) to learn practical skills and knowledge to advance their lives. The “real-world” practicality is derived from providing discovery/learning opportunities from experiences in actual real-world situations. This “discovery/teaching/sharing” process then leads to opportunities for “Outreach and Service”.
Outreach and active learning in communities and businesses leads to fulfilled community “needs” which will naturally evolve to more opportunities to fulfill those needs. The outcome of this process is students with a more applied and practical education, and communities being more engaged and informed about what actually is being taught, and how it can benefit them.
A final critical element of the model relates to the emphasis on the educational programs being self-sustaining. The courses/programs being taught should be pertinent and generate enough revenues to support their own continuance. If a course becomes a burden and requires being “subsidized”, than it should be carefully evaluated to be discontinued or replaced by another course/program. Inherent in the process needs to be an understanding that there should be a business model behind this process. Having a guiding principle of “entrepreneurship and commercialization” (or “dream making”) can provide an enhancement of student’s interest in participating in the programs. Instead of seeking funding from institutions and non-profit organizations, the model could be perpetually self supporting if a portion of all business endeavors that develop from the model are fed back to fund the continued growth and development of this new educational paradigm.