Applying Experiential Learning to Career Development Training for Biomedical Graduate Students and Postdocs: Perspectives on Program Development and Design


Experiential learning is an effective educational tool across many academic disciplines, including career development. Nine different institutions bridged by the National Institutes of Health Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training Consortium compared their experiments in rethinking and expanding training of predoctoral graduate students and post-doctoral scholars in the biomedical sciences to include experiential learning opportunities. In this article, we provide an overview of the four types of experiential learning approaches our institutions offer and compare the learning objectives and evaluation strategies employed for each type. We also discuss key factors for shaping experiential learning activities on an institutional level. The framework we provide can help organizations determine which form of experiential learning for career training might best suit their institutions and goals and aid in the successful design and delivery of such training.