Practice-Based Learning

What is Practice-Based Learning?

Internships for the longest time have been thought of as the gold standard in experiential learning. Students learn in an authentic environment imbued with a distinctive culture, under a manager with extensive work experience, and on projects that are potentially important to the future of that business. The BiP program uses practice-based learning to transform the internship into an on campus experience. It is based on three essential elements. They are:

  • Developmental Goals
  • ISA2 Learning
  • Authenticity

Rather than focusing on the mastery of a body of knowledge or a set of principles, practice-based learning concentrates on the development of the individual learner. The emphasis is on learning as a process that in many ways never ends. It is a process that is designed to help the student make connections to the real world in ways that will help launch their professional careers.

The type of learning is what we call ISA2 (informal, situated, active and applied). It is designed to be informal so that our students can take advantage of the tacit knowledge and experience that our working practitioners have developed over their professional careers. Learning is situated within the culture, standards, and way of doing things that our practitioners bring with them into the classroom. It is both active and applied. Students learn by doing as they actively engage with the material, each other, and the practitioner/instructor.

Each course is designed to leverage the knowledge and experience of our practitioners to create a classroom environment that closely mirrors as much as possible an actual work environment. We interject authenticity into the course design process by including real company norms, evaluative processes, projects, and a general way of doing things that reflects the work history of the practitioner turned instructor.

Soft Skills

These three principles are matched with three soft skills that are developed as part of a practice-based learning experience. While all of our courses are based on a common set of principles, they are contextually unique because each is designed specifically around the life experiences of the instructor/practitioner. Success from course to course requires that each student assess the specific situation and develop a heightened awareness of what is expected and what they will be required to do.  

The foundation of ISA2 Learning has students working collaboratively with each other and a range of learners/experts. This might take the form of working on a team project, through a difficult concept, or to put together a presentation to showcase their work.

In practice-based learning, each course offers opportunities to learn from both success and failure. Students have an opportunity to build competence over repeated practice either in an individual course or across multiple courses. We believe this develops resiliency that promotes individual growth and a willingness to take on new challenges.

What do the students have to say?

Isabella Ronson '21

“The BiP course Inbound Marketing with the Raka partners enabled me to actually work with a client for the first time. I loved working with a nonprofit in the Manchester area to give them recommendations on their marketing plan. I now feel more confident in my abilities and knowledge in the marketing field. I also feel more prepared for post UNH life because of all of the connections I was able to make with professionals in the area.”

Carlton Robie '20

“The forwarding thinking of Paul College to establish a co-curricular program sets apart students from other schools who may not have this experience coming out of college.”

Isabel Cieslar '21

“My experience with my BiP course is nothing short of amazing! My instructor Krystal Hicks always shares her experiences as well as the misconceptions and truths about the job. You can truly gain a vast amount of knowledge and insight into your future and ease common fears that you may have. I truly believe every student at UNH should take a BiP!”