Features of Experiential Learning Environments in Relation to Generic Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: A Scoping Review

Dorothy Duchatelet*, Frank Cornelissen, Monique Volman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Experiential learning environments are beneficial for the development of generic learning outcomes, such as critical thinking, communication, and self-regulation. However, research about the variation in experiential learning activities and their benefits is scattered across several bodies of discipline-specific literature. Purpose: The aim is to map the design elements of experiential learning environments across domains and to uncover their relation with generic learning outcomes. Methodology/Approach: Using a scoping review study, 22 studies were subjected to qualitative analysis. Findings/Conclusions: The design elements were related to authenticity, structure, and agency, and learning outcomes in the cognitive, affective, metacognitive, and socio-communicative domain. Confidence and communication skills were the most often included learning outcomes, followed by teamwork and problem-solving. The design elements that were most prominently present across learning outcomes were related to individual agency within group work during the activity and authenticity represented in interactions with peers. Further, we identified seven patterns about how design elements relate to generic learning outcomes. Implications: Addressing the design of experiential learning environments on a more fine-grained level is needed to increase insights of which generic learning outcomes are being fostered, and to enhance comparability of research findings within and between types of experiential learning environments.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Experiential Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Nov 2023


  • design elements
  • experiential learning
  • generic learning outcomes
  • higher education
  • scoping review
  • study community
  • topics


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