What is Experiential Learning?

You may have heard the term “Experiential Learning” as you explore or are attending a university or college. Simply defined, Experiential Learning is learning through doing and through reflection on that doing. It can also be thought of as “hands-on” learning as opposed to traditional classroom learning. For college students, having an experiential learning opportunity is critical for success in a career. Below we outline these opportunities at PennWest.


Internships are relevant work experiences performed under an experienced professional’s guidance and a faculty member’s supervision. Internships are for credit and can be paid or unpaid.​

Internship, Non-Credit

Relevant work experiences aligned with a student’s major or career goals, optionally noted on transcripts with zero credit. Experiences can be paid or unpaid.​

Field Experience

Fieldwork experiences allow students to explore and apply content learned in the classroom in a specified experience away from the classroom, designed to prepare students for professional development. ​


Practicums and clinicals are for credit courses that are essential parts of academic programs, aiming to develop professional skills and meet program accreditation standards.

Student Teaching

A capstone experience that engages students in a semester-long experience in the classroom(s) with increasing levels of teaching responsibility.

Service Learning

A structured educational experience where students participate in activities to address community needs, reflect on their service, and foster a sense of civic responsibility.​

RISE Work Study

An on-campus work experience that prepares students for the workplace by teaching transferrable skills and fostering reflection on their learning.​ ​

Study Abroad

Faculty-directed programs that allow students to study abroad with a group of PennWest students. These are short-term programs that occur during breaks such as summer or spring break. 

By Christina Moreschi
Christina Moreschi Director of Career Events and Outreach