Master of Education in Distance Education (MDDE) 612

Experiential Learning

Course cover

Delivery Mode: Online course using Moodle

Credits: 3 - Elective

Prerequisite: MDDE 601, MDDE 602 for MEd program students only

Availability: Winter

Early access to the Moodle Learning Management System begins a few days before the official start date of your course. At that time you will have limited course access.


In MDDE 612: Experiential Learning, you will be exploring various facets of experiential learning with others in the course. There will be some roads that you travel yourself.

Although we all live in the same world, we certainly do not see the world in the same way. Our views are influenced in different ways by parents, culture, religion, history, class, gender, race, and socio-political context, as well as by our own experiences. The significant reference groups in our lives particularly help to shape the way we look at the world. Our mental frameworks or world-view, is based on layers of assumptions by many of these factors. Not only does our world view vary from that of others, but it can change during our lifetime.

Course Outline

The course is divided into three parts.

  • Part 1 of this course examines the transformation theory of Jack Mezirow and looks at learning through the creation of meaning schemes and meaning perspectives.
  • Part 2 introduces a broader array of approaches to experiential learning. It examines processes of interpretation in a variety of learning situations such as formal institutional learning, and more informal experiential learning such as personal study, work experience, community service, hobbies, and travel.
  • Part 3 of the course is a case study where you will have the chance to apply the ideas of experiential learning. Throughout the course your own formal and informal learning experiences (e.g., volunteer work, travel, hobbies, personal study, and work experience) will be useful in expanding on the examples given, questioning and evaluating the theories, and finally in completing the case study.

Learning Resources


Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative dimensions of adult learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Ehrich, J., & Goldsmith, R. (2009). The most dangerous man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon papers (DVD). First Run Features.

Student Assessment

Students are assessed on the basis of four assignments and course participation.

Activity Credit Weight
Life Situation Survey: The Life Situation Survey will give the instructor a better idea of what you know in the area of experiential learning and how best to tailor the course to meet your interests and experience. 5%
Review 1: Milton - Mezirow or the Ellsberg DVD, This review of the critical material from Mezirow's transformation theory provides an opportunity to relate the theory to real-life situations. 20%
Review 2: Reader articles - In this review of a wide variety of approaches and ideas in experiential learning, you will identify and summarize the key concepts and principles, and evaluate them. 15%
Case Study Proposal (approved/not approved) - In this proposal you will outline the project which you like to pursue in the case study.  
Case Study 40%
Course Participation - Students will discuss issues and raise questions in the weekly forums. 20%
Total 100%

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Updated August 02 2017 by Student & Academic Services