A Learning Light is Full of Experience
During the summer, I will have students who are completing an internship for course requirement. This summer, I have ten students completing internships: one for leadership and nine for sport management.
The internships are comprised of multiple learning modules the student completes during the internship process. For example in my department of sport management, we have a four credit hour internship requirement. Our students are required to complete an internship during the summer after their junior year. The students must have a total of 400 hours completed (10 weeks – 40 hours a week). Students are responsible for writing weekly reflections about daily tasks and experiences.
In addition, students answer directed reflection questions where they apply sport management concepts learned in previous course work to their internship. Students have a site supervisor at the organization and a designated Elon faculty mentor. During the summer, I typically communicate with my students through multiple forums (email, GroupMe, DropBox, text, and video conferencing).
The goal of the internship is to have students extend learning beyond the classroom and encourage translation of knowledge into practice. Currently, I have students interning with: ZAP Fitness, Tryon International Equestrian Center, Asheville City Soccer, Elon Athletics Ticket Office, Burlington Royals,Milwaukee Power, Gameday Tailgate Experience and Bridges.
For this summer, most of my students have completed five weeks of their internship experience. I had the opportunity this week to meet with a few via Zoom video conferencing and in person with five of my students who are interning for organizations in the state of North Carolina. I spent a couple days this week meeting with my students.
As I embarked on this adventure, I had time in the car to reflect on “why” the internship experience is so important to one’s growth and development. Here is a video I posted earlier this week as I embarked on my internship site visit adventure.
While traveling to meet with students in Asheville, I had an opportunity to visit my internship site from spring 2001. During my time as an undergraduate at Elon, I completed two internships. My first internship was at a resort in the Outer Banks. I decided to explore opportunities at resorts to decide if campus recreation was the route I wanted to pursue. After time at the resort, it solidified my interest in campus recreation. I finished all of my course work in the fall 2000 semester and decided I would look for an internship for spring 2001. I contacted UNC Asheville Campus Recreation to see if the organization had an internship. I applied and accepted the internship position.
Here I was this week, 17 years later pulling into UNC Asheville’s campus to visit. My time at UNC Asheville was amazing, to name a few responsibilities I led intramural officials meetings, supervised the 60 student employees who worked for campus recreation, created health and wellness special events, and attended student affairs divisional meetings. To make a few extra bucks I worked UNC Asheville Men’s Basketball games as the sports ticker (where I would call in the scores during and at the end of the game).
Why are internships important?
Through the internship experience students are able to gain knowledge and be transformed. David Kolb’s learning model helps explain the learning process.
Kolb (1984) defined learning as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience” (p.380). Kolb developed a model that assists us to understand the learning process.
Kolb’s Cycle of Learning
A colleague and I published an article titled, “Model of Experiential Andragogy: Development of a Non-Traditional Experiential Learning Program Model.” The article describes how adults develop through experiential learning. We must acknowledge that no matter what stage of life we will continue to learn through various experiences.
A learning light is continuously growing. Fill it up with experiences.
Evans, N.J., Forney, D.S., Guido, F.M., Patton, L.D., & Renn, K.A. Student Development in College: Theory, Research and Practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.