The college years are a critical transition stage for students, which makes it all the more important to provide these young adults with access to resources, support and community beyond academics to help them learn about who they are, what path they want to pursue, and ultimately what place they want to occupy in the world. Recalling psychologist Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, in which important aspects of learning derive from social observation, and concepts of informal learning, in which learning occurs through unstructured and unplanned activities, the most successful campuses are therefore the ones able to provide diverse learning and social development opportunities outside of the classroom.
Looking beyond classrooms and even traditional student union building typologies, we can find creative opportunities to maximize the impact of social and informal learning in partnership with the formal learning of classrooms and labs. As we strive to provide a richer student experience, the question is: what strategies are effective when designing to support students in “mind, body and spirit?” With reference to our work at Monterey Peninsula College, we offer some directions to consider.
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