Capturing All Learning, and Documenting It, Too

Elon University serves as one of the leaders in experiential education, expanding students’ knowledge beyond the classroom to the real world. These experiences, ranging from internships to study abroad, have become strongholds of an Elon education and is what drew us to pick Elon as the college we both wanted to attend.

But we both quickly learned, that keeping track of those experiences is also essential. In 1994, Elon University began to maintain an ‘Elon Experiential Transcript’ (EET) for students as a record of their experiences throughout college. The EETs could be used for student reflection, on-campus record keeping, or post-graduate application to graduate school and jobs. In 2002, Elon began to require two Elon experiences for each student upon graduation. Then, in 2015, Elon University’s Office of the Registrar partnered with Lumina Foundation’s Comprehensive Learner Record project to create a two-page ‘visual experiential transcript’ (EXP) that more easily conveyed Elon’s experiential learning outcomes in a visual way.

These innovations have led Elon University to become a leader in the creation, implementation, and innovation of comprehensive learner records in the field of higher education.

The importance of the experiential transcript is growing, as employers and graduate schools become more familiar with these higher education documents. A study conducted by Elon’s Registrar’s Office about employer’s perceptions about the EET showed employers were interested in new ways to document the benefits of a college education. Employers said records like the EET were helpful in finding students with unique experiences and learning about students’ transferrable skills for the workforce. Many employers also suggested that more competency-based learning outcomes and student skills should be recorded on the EET.

Student input is an essential part of this program. Elon has conducted multiple student listening focus groups and research studies to explore what students find most valuable in these transcripts.

From Myrta’s perspective as a rising junior at Elon, she knows first-hand how important it is to prove what you know and what you can do. Personally, the EET helped Myrta to be more conscious about what skills she could bring to a job and provided her with a significant advantage during an internship interview by showcasing my accomplishments as a ‘whole’ student. Having a record that included much more than just grades and on a verified, institutional document gave her future employer an idea of who she was. That made it more credible and official to employers than just listing experiences on a resume.

Both of us cannot emphasize enough how much the EET has helped us and recommend every institution implement a Comprehensive Learner Record for students.