Bringing course material to life through experiential learning: impacts on students’ learning and perceptions in a corrections course
Boppre, Breanna L.
Salisbury, Emily J.
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Linsey Belisle, Breanna Boppre, Jaclyn Keen & Emily J. Salisbury (2019) Bringing Course Material to Life through Experiential Learning: Impacts on Students’ Learning and Perceptions in a Corrections Course, Journal of Criminal Justice Education
Experiential learning can be an effective practice to improve student engagement, comprehension, and application of course material in criminal justice classrooms. The current study analyzes 33 undergraduate students’ reactions to three experiential learning activities in an upper-level corrections course: a jail tour, a formerly incarcerated guest speaker, and/or a documentary on life without parole. As a course assignment, students submitted reflection papers in relation to two of the three activities. Students’ blinded papers were then coded and qualitatively analyzed to determine the impacts of experiential learning on connections to the course material and changes in perceptions of incarcerated persons and the correctional system. Three themes emerged from their papers, supporting the use of experiential learning tactics. The ethical concerns of the use of correctional tours are also discussed as well as areas for future research.
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