Practical liberal arts — professional development — professor/partner-involved experiential learning

learningcycleI have known for some time that “experiential learning” is the most effective learning. (Just ask the U.S. Army.)

Now, I have learned that undergraduate experiential learning happens most at small, liberal arts colleges – where the teaching load is carried by the professors themselves and not by assistants. Lectures are not the keys – lectures can even be outsourced. The keys are doing things with professors involved – the research, the writing, the discussions, the field trips and the experiments.  AND – most important – professors taking an interest in students – one-on-one.

That’s what changes lives.

It works just the same for lawyers and professional development. Change the word “professor” to “partner” and you are talking about law firms. Lawyers’ professional development happens best at mid-size firms — where new lawyers work directly with experienced partners on whole projects (not small pieces). And the best firms are the ones where the partners take an interest in this and in younger professionals.

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