Tip #7: Creating Significant Learning Experiences by Engaging Career Aspirations

October 3, 2017

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Tip #7: Creating Significant Learning Experiences by Engaging Career Aspirations in the Classroom

Last year, more that 15 majors and 30 classes included career exploration, field-specific research of job opportunities, resume development, informational interviews and/or mock interviews within their courses. More than 300 students participated in practice interviews and more than 400 participated in creating resumes related to their fields of interest.  This is a result of the innovative work of a number of our colleagues here at Humboldt State. Over the past few years faculty have been experimenting with and designing lesson plans that integrate career preparedness into their syllabi and coursework. HSU is ahead of the game for the time being as faculty are dedicating a little bit of time and effort toward helping students translate their experience in the classroom to their future aspirations. What makes HSU unique is the scope of our project and our approach to custom designing our career education to fit each participating major.

In Creating Significant Learning Experiences, Fink (2013) presents a taxonomy for significant learning experiences and states that for learning to occur there needs to be a lasting change in the learner that is important to their life.  Fink outlines six kinds of significant learning:

  • Foundational Knowledge
  • Application
  • Integration
  • Human Dimension
  • Caring
  • Learning how to learn

We can address at least five of these areas by simply leading students through activities that require them to explore their future aspirations, career opportunities and requirements, and how their education connects to real life scenarios.  These kind of classroom activities helps our disciplines speak directly to student interests and the underlying concerns they have for their future.  Faculty that have implemented these kinds of assignments have significant returns on these investments and cite that students often become more committed, confident, and purposeful in their chosen pathways.

The CAHSS Career Curriculum Committee has drawn on the work of 8 members of CAHSS Faculty and staff from the Academic and Career Advising Center to provide you with resources that can help you easily integrate these kinds of experiences in your own courses.  We also encourage you to share with us any of your own activities and innovations.

HSU’s Academic and Career Advising Center and the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences’ Career Curriculum Program: http://www2.humboldt.edu/acac/curriculum

Fink, L.D. (2013). Creating significant learning experiences: an integrated approach to designing college courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

McDow, L.W. & Zabrucky, K.M. (2015). Effectiveness of a career development course on students’ job search skills and self-efficacy. Journal of College Student Development 56(6), 632–636.

Mills, A.G. & Sutera, J. (2012). Case Studies of curricular approaches. New Directions for Student Services 2012(138), 75–90.

Folsom, B. & Reardon, R. (2003). College career courses: design and accountability. Journal of Career Assessment 11(4), 421–50.

Contributed by Loren Collins, Academic and Career Advising Center

All Teaching & Learning Tips are archived on the CTL website