What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills and values from direct experiences outside a traditional academic setting. Experiential learning encompasses a variety of activities including internships, service learning, undergraduate research, study abroad, clinical and other creative and professional work experiences.

Well-planned, supervised and assessed experiential learning programs can stimulate academic inquiry by promoting interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, leadership and other professional and intellectual skills.

Elements of Experiential Learning

Experiential learning encompasses a comprehensive set of elements:

Metacognitive Skills

Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis are essential as they prompt learners to extract deeper insights from experiences, fostering understanding alignment with prior knowledge and development of analytical and integrative abilities.

Student Holistic Engagement Opportunities

Students are provided with opportunities to exercise initiative, make decisions, take accountability for outcomes, all the while participating in intellectual, creative, emotional, social and/or physical engagement.

Learning through Trial and Error

A designed learning experience that offers the opportunity to derive lessons from natural consequences, mistakes and successes.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Engage in immersive learning adventures at Dalton State College through hands-on experiences that blend real-world scenarios with reflection and critical analysis.

Community Engagement

Student Life believes all members of Roadrunner Nation have a role and responsibility in giving back to their community through advocacy, civic engagement or volunteerism. Students can recognize their civic potential and take initiative to develop it by becoming educated on social issues and serving the individuals for whom those issues are a reality. Student Life utilizes the RoadrunnerServe platform to help connect students with individual and collaborative actions designed to identify and address social issues locally, nationally and globally.


A wide array of internships and various practical experiences are accessible across diverse major fields, offering exceptional chances to acquire hands-on knowledge within actual professional environments. These opportunities present an invaluable means to foster practical skills and insights while working within the specific contexts of respective fields.

Study Abroad/Study Away

Dalton State College and the University System of Georgia offer you a wide variety of study abroad opportunities from nine-day programs to semester/academic year programs. You choose what works for you. Many DSC students choose the five-week summer study abroad programs located in countries around the world.

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research provides scholarly and creative activity opportunities for students to work alongside faculty. According to the Council on Undergraduate Research, undergraduate research is defined as an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline. Undergraduate research experiences help to enrich the academic curriculum through enhanced critical thinking skills and greater understanding of one’s chosen field.


Leadership is a complex combination of experiences, lessons, challenges, and self-exploration that occur throughout a lifetime. There are several ways in which you can get involved in leadership opportunities.


Rich learning experiences can be achieved through volunteerism. Volunteering can promote skill development as well as foster an incredible sense of community and engagement; thus, volunteering can lead to positive benefits for both the volunteer and the person or community served. At Dalton State College, you can volunteer through Student Life’s Alternative Breaks program or through Roadrunner Serve.

Peer Education

Peer Education assists students in developing the skills needed for personal growth, academic progress and critical thinking through knowledge sharing and peer facilitation. You can gain experience in teaching related activities by becoming a Peer Educator.

Careers and Professional Development

Career and Professional Development serves our students and alumni through expanding their knowledge and skills by providing them with comprehensive career related resources that empower them to attain short and long term professional goals.

Student Life

Student Life empowers students with opportunities for life-long learning through diverse, community-centered programming and active leadership experiences. Student Life is dedicated to both individual and organizational growth and development, and their goals are to engage, educate and promote student development.