“Schools and Classrooms are learning destinations for convening, communicating, creating and sharing. The Community and the World are the learning destinations of adventure, discovery, connections and relationships.”
-Robert Gould, Director, ExL Lab
A New Experience-Based Program Initiative
Based in Dornsife College under the Associate Dean, Tammara Anderson and Lab Director, Robert Gould, the EXL Lab @ USC curates, develops, and implements media enhanced, “learning by doing” learning experiences in support of faculty and their courses.
Working together, we inspire and motivate students to discover, explore, share, and apply to their academic coursework to the brad landscape of their personal, academic, and professional lives. To do this, the EXL Lab enrolls and engages non-academic thought leaders and media companies to work with faculty with new tools, technology, methods, and practices for lifetime learning, including emotional self-management and community service.
What We Do
- Curate & connect faculty with off campus applied learning experiences.
- Facilitate & meditate innovative course enhancement partnerships and projects.
- Serve & support undergraduates through experience and “maker based” programs and events.
- Facilitates transfer of academic content into real-world practical applications.
- Supports faculty members in adopting and implementing experiential learning into teaching methods.
- Increases course content appeal, engagement, relevance, and value for students.
- Enables cross-disciplinary approach and service learning that enrich the academic experience of
students and faculty.
- Partners with EXL Lab and ExL’s resources, assets, techniques, and connections on and off campus.
The ExL Lab Academic Curator
Our Academia Curator, Kiel Shaub, PhD. is our content-to-experience translator, curating and mediating faculty connections with EXL Lab partners and associates and their respective and considerable assets and resources within the classroom and within the business and social community.
How Does It Work?
- Faculty-driven EXL Lab initiatives: A faculty member reaches out to EXL Lab with an idea that involves other units, community, business, or social entity to develop an experiential component.
- Community-driven EXL Lab initiatives: Based on external partnerships that EXL Lab identifies,
we connect USC Dornsife faculty with external partners to build innovative, experiential learning
opportunities benefiting both students and faculty.
At the EXL Lab, we believe our responsibility to students goes beyond the delivery of data and content; It
includes the constant practice and reinforcement of core learning behaviors and skills within real world
environments, so these methods become internalized and accessible on demand in the mind and body
of the student.
Through experienced and “maker based,” real-time engagement with the world during their academic years, we prepare students to assess and navigate opportunities, communicate and co-create affectively with others and understand the value and rewards of community service.
Interested in creating an experiential learning component for your class – contact us!
Our Human Superpower: An Experiential Journey of Empathy in Action
Empathy, our ability to connect emotionally with beings, is one of our most profound capacities. The sensory bridge to shared experience, Empathy is the connecting tissue of human social organization. It is at the foundation of healthy, loving relationships, key to resolving conflicts, and enables us to engage meaningfully with stories and aesthetic experience. It is also a primal force, one we share with other mammals. We all possess this transformational ability and choose to use it daily to experience emotions through media and with individuals for our personal satisfaction.
This ExL Lab program explored both the light and shadow of this transformational quality and how we can engage with its productive and fulfilling aspects to evolve our lives and relationships in the world we inhabit. Participants thought critically about the nature, history, and purpose of Empathy in its scientific, philosophical, and spiritual expressions. They interrogated its current and potential value in both personal and societal relationships; discussed the role of Empathy in storytelling and the arts; and examined the degree to which we integrate the narrative practice of Empathy into our lives.
Through immersive experience in a safe space, empathetic listening, discussion, and creative maker projects, participants watched as the world of Empathy comes to life. It is a world beyond the individual, that exists only in community and conversation.