The Unit for Experiential Learning (UEL) forms part of the Centre for Student Life and Learning (CSLL) within the Division Student Affairs at Stellenbosch University (SU). In aligning with national and institutional goals, the UEL functions within a social justice framework that proposes students as socially conscious citizen-leaders committed to the holistic development of themselves, others, and their contexts.

UEL is mandated to offer staff and students sessions on the design, implementation, and evaluation of transformative experiential learning opportunities. This is made possible through the creation of experiential education frameworks and scaffolded experiential learning opportunities linking 21
st-century competencies and the SU's Graduate Attributes. As an impact measurement, students can receive academic transcript recognition for evidence-based learning, which positions them for effective global citizen-leadership. To accomplish the above with consistent quality and efficacy, the UEL strives towards experiential education as a pedagogy for social justice.

Experiential Learning Transcript Recognition is aligned with Core Strategic Them​​e 1: A Transformative Student Experience because it seeks to provide “opportunities for growth to all undergraduate and postgraduate students, inclusive of guidance, support and services from SU to enable their success".[1] To implement SU's vision and mission, UEL ensures people, processes, and practices are foregrounded through integrating Monitoring Evaluation Research and Learning (MERL) in all that we do. Our approach to MERL is multi-layered and multi-dimensional, taking into account internal and external partnerships. UEL oversees the academic transcript recognition processes, from inception to completion.

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​​Experiential Learning and Teaching ​are at the heart of what we do as  the UEL aligns with the institutional academic project and Core Strategic Theme Two: Networked and Collaborative Teaching and Learning

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Utilising a number of Learning theories such as Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory; and the work of Freire, Mezirow and Sen to effect transformative learning design within a higher education setting. One such offering is the Designing for Transformative Experiential Learning (DTEL) click for more detail) opportunity. The purpose of DTEL is to provide the teaching and learning environment an opportunity to develop the skills, tools and techniques required to design, implement, and measure, student-centred, contextually relevant, transformative experiential learning. UEL utilises synchronous and asynchronous learning modalities to ensure equity of access and equity of outcomes. Students are able to access learning opportunities in person on campus and online off campus.

UEL is also responsible for the experiential learning competency framework and the SU Graduate Attributes integration within learning opportunities for DSAF.

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Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) in the UEL is a systematic process to ensure the quality of programmes and projects of the office and that the standards set are fit for purpose. As part of embedding MEL as practice, UEL developed its Theory of Change (TOC) and MEL Framework in light of the 8 conditions facing the South African Higher education context.

These 8 conditions are as follows: 

Condition 1. Undergraduate Capability – Epistemological Access

Condition 2. Graduate Employability

Condition 3. Training vs Job-requirement

Condition 4. Social Equity and Societal Stratification

Condition 5. Social Networks

Condition 6. Technology 

Condition 7. Globalisation and Global Discourse vs Internationalisation and 

Condition 8. Historical Legacy of  Higher Education. 

This work will be expanded on throughout 2024.

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UEL recognises and understands how partnerships improve the impact and reach of our work. Partnership initiatives are integral to our work for the formation of increasing learning opportunities, ​thereby increasing student access and success. One such partnership is the UEL and VUC Storstrøm initiative that focuses on the sustainable development ​​goals and relationship between the global north and south.​

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For more information, contact:

Kate Roodt: kateroodt@sun.ac.za

Ramone Comalie: ramone@sun.ac.za

Ruth Andrews: rutha@sun.ac.za