Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




Experiential Learning, Continuous Improvement, Quality Assurance, Cyclical Program Review, Higher Education, Ontario


Experiential learning (EL) in higher education has become a prominent academic curriculum component. Recent provincial guidelines emphasize that post-secondary institutions provide students EL opportunities, outlining criteria as to what counts as an EL activity. While these guidelines provide instruction on what an EL opportunity should contain, it does not detail how post-secondary institutions should develop and implement these activities responsive to their unique student population needs. This Organizational Improvement Plan (OIP) aims to determine how an Ontario university can provide meaningful, student-focused EL opportunities through a centralized, theoretically-informed EL implementation framework. It centers around a Problem of Practice (PoP) at Gordon University (GU), where the absence of formal internal practices on how to develop and implement EL has created an imbalance in current offerings. Throughout the OIP, a distributed-adaptive hybrid leadership approach combined with the change path model (Cawsey et al., 2016) creates a pathway to propel identified change practices forward. An organizational analysis identifies key change areas, determining the scope and type of change needed. Using Starratt’s (1991, 1996) ethics of care, justice and critique reveals the ethical considerations and challenges a chosen solution needs to address. The result is a proposed solution to the PoP that focuses on organizational learning using Kolb’s (2015) EL theory. Embedding this organizational learning in GU’s existing quality assurance academic review framework will formalize the process. The model for improvement (Langley et al., 1994; Langley et al., 2009; Moen & Norman, 2009) guides the implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and communication plans to ensure continuous improvement of the chosen solution.

Keywords: Experiential learning, Continuous improvement, Quality assurance, Distributed-adaptive leadership