Our Methodology

How we chose the winners

To select the inaugural recipients of the Experiential Learning Awards, we analyzed 3 factors: student engagement, faculty involvement and early participation. We rated each of these factors separately, then determined an overall rating based on the weighting described below.

How we rated and weighted each factor

Internal data spans 2.5m+ enrollments in Forage virtual job simulations and 850+ educators registered to use Forage virtual job simulations across 1,700+ classes. There was no requirement that an institution utilizes Forage to be eligible for an award, and 48% of the inaugural winners are institutions that do not currently utilize Forage to deliver experiential learning in coursework.

Student engagement answers the question ‘how actively do students participate in the experiential learning activities made available to them?’ We identified student engagement as the most important factor in the delivery of a high-quality experiential learning offering. The student engagement score was calculated through a combination of internal data and external research. Examples of internal data analyzed were virtual job simulation enrollments, completions and the percentage of students enrolled in multiple simulations. External research included the percentage of students participating in experiential learning activities available. An institution’s student engagement score contributed to 50% of its overall score.

Faculty involvement answers the question ‘how engaged are instructors in the delivery of experiential learning?’ This score examined whether experiential learning is integrated within the curriculum at an institution, and if so, whether it is mandatory for students to participate in courses containing experiential learning. This score was also influenced by the number of faculty members at an institution that are registered on Forage. Faculty involvement contributed to 35% of an institution’s overall score.

Early participation answers the question ‘how early in a student’s college journey are they first introduced to experiential learning?’ Earlier participation provides students with more time to explore and subsequently identify career paths that interest them. This score was calculated through a combination of external research and internal data. External research included consideration of when in a student’s college journey they first engage with experiential learning offerings or courses (e.g. Freshman, Sophomore etc). Internal data included an assessment of the average year level that students enrolled in and completed Forage virtual job simulations. Early participation contributed to 15% of an institution’s overall score.

We scored a total of 800 4-year US institutions based on the factors set out above. To identify the initial shortlist of 800, we divided the total number of students from each institution enrolled on Forage by the total student enrollment at each institution. If your institution did not receive an Experiential Learning Award but you’d like to receive a breakdown of your score, please email education@theforage.com

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