Top 5 Myths about Applied Learning

Students at our schools know that a fundamental piece of our education is to participate in Applied Learning.  Applied Learning is an excellent model for implementing what you have learned in your courses yet many misconceptions about this model exist.  Here are the Top 5 myths and the truth behind what you hear about Applied Learning.

#1 – Service Learning and Applied Learning are the same thing.

Service-learning is a form of applied learning, rather than an interchangeable term with applied learning. Think of applied learning as an umbrella with the spokes of the umbrella being classroom applications, service learning, global applications and workplace applications.  In other words, many different types of learning make up our Applied Learning model.

#2 – Applied Learning projects must be done at a non-profit organization.

Applied Learning projects can be done at a variety of organizations including small businesses and the student’s workplace–it entirely depends on the situation and what instructional method your instructor chooses to use for your course. For example, if you are asked to do a service learning project, you may or may not even work directly with an organization, since there are many ways (including research and advocacy) that allow a student to engage in service-learning. If you are completing a workplace application
project, you may be working with a business that isn’t affiliated with meeting a community need.

#3 – Applied Learning projects require too many hours in order to complete the requirements.

Specific requirements for applied learning projects vary based on the class; however your instructor understands the many responsibilities that you have as a student.  Project requirements are designed with students and learning outcomes “in mind.”  Many projects
require only a few hours to be able to finish; this is in alignment with other academic assignments such as research papers and cumulative exams.

#4 – There is no one to help me with finding an organization for my project.

Classes have specific instructions that can be an excellent source of information about your applied learning project.  Also, be sure to talk with your instructor.  They can be an excellent source of information for you.  The online division also has a coordinator for
Service Learning projects.  Feel free to contact, Jacinda Miller a to brainstorm ideas for your next project.
#5 – Service-learning is separate from the course material and is a “side” project.

Wrong. The intention of service-learning (and any form of applied learning for that matter) is to draw meaningful connections between your service opportunity and your course content. Service-learning offers the students an opportunity to connect with the local and/or global community, strengthens soft skills, and fosters civic engagement—all skills that are highly valued by employers.