Utilizing ELMs to Promote International Development
To address the growing issues of global food security and human suffering, institutions must better prepare students entering these fields with an education that provides experiential-based curricula. A partnership of Texas A&M University, Auburn University, and Sam Houston State University will work together to provide this education to their graduate students. Each university will recruit graduate students to travel to Haiti and experience the issues endemic of an impoverished country. Through their presence in country students will develop Experiential Learning Modules (ELMs) based on the four modes of Kolb’s Learning Style (1984). Exploring their encounters in the country they will implement concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experience to deepen the impact of immersing in a highly underdeveloped nation. These students will pair up with a faculty member to document their course of in-country experience and development of a solution to the issue they choose to investigate. Designing this educational format using experiential learning theory will not only impact the perceptions and problem solving skills of the faculty and student participants, but the influence will extend to be used to enrich graduate curricula. These ELMs can be embedded into a course to bring international development experiences into the classroom enhancing the problem solving and cultural sensitivity skills of more graduate students.