Natural Resources, School of


Date of this Version



NACTA Journal, September 2009


Experiential learning opportunities promote skill in problem-solving and critical thinking, but they require unique assessment methods because traditional approaches are difficult to implement in the field. We have conducted a study tour course involving a canoe trip in a wilderness area in northern Minnesota since 2004. Here, we describe how we developed our course's learning experiences, ensured the learning experiences materialized, and assessed the student learning objectives. Proper planning can result in valuable, spontaneous learning experiences. We used a student journal, field-based quiz, and participation grade to effectively assess the breadth of student learning that was inherent in our course. Students indicated that they felt the three forms of assessment were effective and fair.