So, What is Immersive Learning?

March 30, 2020
WPU Anthropology students excavate artifacts at Historic Oberlin Village in Raleigh, NC

Think of a class you’ve taken that you wish you remembered what you thought you learned. You remember the lectures and the tests and maybe even a project, but have no memory of what it was all for. Do you ever wish you could go back and maybe study longer? Focus more in class? Take better notes? Here’s the bigger question: would you remember the info if you had gotten a second chance? Is it possible to force lectures and theories into your memory?

Even if that’s the case, there’s one important thing missing. Application. Could you apply what theories and processes you’ve spent so many weeks talking about? Could you accurately put the information to good use? Can a doctor operate successfully just from studying how to? Maybe. Would you let them?

College academics is filled with lectures, PowerPoints, tests, etc.  Performance is solely quantitative.  You get B’s on the test, you get a B  in the class. The more hours you study, the better you score. This is the essence of academics, especially at the college level.  And I believe this is essential, as content needs to be studied, discussed, and essentially learned. But when does the application part come in?

William Peace University designed the strategic plan, one of the four main elements being immersive learning.  Since they launched the plan in 2016, the immersive learning program has taken off. There are more opportunities being offered with each semester, and more students are taking advantage of them.

So what is immersive learning? Let’s check the Immersive Learning webpage.

“Experiential + Immersive Learning is the process of learning through experience, and applying what you’ve learned in an active environment.  This will better prepare you for graduate school, your next career, and a more purposeful life,” says WPU’s Immersive Learning page.

Yeah, IL has its own webpage, but also new to the team was Chris Born, Director of Immersive Learning.  He is the motor behind the boat of IL at WPU.

“The purpose of immersive learning is to bridge the gap between the theories students learn in the classroom and how they apply that knowledge,” says Borne.

Does this really bring students to the next step?  What if it doesn’t really matter? I turned to The Princeton Review to see if employers care, and if so, what are they looking for?
“According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association of College and Employers, over 75% of employers look for job applicants with hands-on skills in teamwork, problem-solving, and communication,” says TPR.

Princeton review published a list of things to look for to give employers what they are looking for.  In that list includes cooperative education, leadership training, service learning, and study abroad.  (All of which I have had experience with, thanks to Peace, cough cough).

Personally, I can confidently say I have tested out some of the skills learned in class.  This allows me to target key points of development, and where I’ve really understood material.  I want to share these immersive learning experiences.  I want to inspire others to either take such opportunities because not only will I never forget climbing the ruins of Mexico or partnering with a national company, but these experiences have given me the chance to apply my skills and learn on a deeper level.

Take a dive with me and see what can happen when you get a truly unique opportunity like this.

photo of Shannon TurnerThis is the first in a series of posts by senior, Shannon Turner | Student Body Vice President