An increasing number of graduate and undergraduate degrees are adding internship requirements to their academic programs. These internship programs are classified as “experiential learning,” a term that simultaneously refers to a learning theory and a method of learning. Experiential learning is a broad term that traces its roots to many fields of study, including but not limited to cognitive psychology, philosophy, adult learning, and social psychology. As more degree programs add internships to their degree requirements, there remains a need to explore the impact of these programs over time. This exploratory qualitative study examines the perception of impact amongst participants in a semester-long, credit-bearing internship program in a 2-year professional graduate degree program offered by a U.S. higher education institution. The study found eight common themes across all alumni participants ranging from 1-15 years post-completion of the internship practicum. The research also presented more nuanced differences between the groups based on the amount of time that had elapsed (1-3 years, 4-8 years, or 9-15 years). The results of this qualitative study were compared to the impact of internship programs found in the literature and the benefits promoted by the academic administrators of the internship program. Four of the eight themes found in all three groups were also present in the literature and internship program materials. This finding has implications for internship program administrators seeking to better prepare and guide internship practicum students. This study also explored the relationship between a participant’s cognitive learning style and their perception of learning benefit from a practicum internship. While the study found no pattern in the learning styles of participants who elected to complete a practicum internship, the study points to patterns in how participants perceived their practicum experience based on their learning style assessment. The findings in this study have implications for higher education administrators, internship and experiential learning practitioners, alumni departments, and qualitative researchers.
|Commitee:||Lynam, Abigail, Schapiro, Steven, Harrison, Christine, Baimyrzaeva, Mahabat|
|School:||Fielding Graduate University|
|Department:||School for Leadership Studies|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/7(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher education, Adult education, Social studies education|
|Keywords:||Alumni engagement, Experiential education, Experiential learning, Graduate school, Internships|
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