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3. ExPERiEnTiaL, aUThEnTiC LEaRning sTRaTEgiEs Authentic learning can be described as experiences “characterized by a high degree of personal relevance”
that permit students to practice skills in environments similar to those in which the skills will be used (Lebow, 1993, p.7). Proponents of authentic learning view these experiences as having practical relevance and being consistent with the kinds of tasks, activities, or experiences a person would encounter at work, at home, or in the community (Herrington, Reeves,
& Oliver, 2010; Herrington & Herrington, 2006; Newman
& Wehlage, 1993). Authentic learning activities usually involve complex tasks that are used to investigate ill-de ned or messy problems over a sustained period of time (Reeves, Herrington, & Oliver, 2002).
These kinds of activities help students achieve four major objectives in learning: (1) to make connections between personal interests and those germane to the  eld of study; (2) to be
more motivated to engage and persevere as a result of the increased relevance of the activity; (3) to facilitate absorption, retention, and transfer of skills and knowledge; and (4) to provide a sense of enculturation into the profession or discipline (Lombardi, 2007). Examples of authentic learning include activities associated case-based learning; experiential learning; collaborative learning; leadership challenges, applied capstone projects with real organizations, including the organizational consulting projects or organizational leadership projects;
games, simulations and role-playing; problem-based learning; use of real-data sets; portfolios that promote re ection and self- assessment; apprenticeships; service learning; design charettes; and performance tasks consistent with professional applications, which could involve writing newspaper articles, preparing
and submitting bids, developing design proposals, etc. Table 2 describes the key characteristics of authentic learning compared to more ‘traditional’ classroom-based learning approaches.
4. COhORT-BasED LEaRning COMMUniTiEs FOR KnOwLEDgE BUiLDing anD shaRing
Learning communities enable students to actively engage
with one another and to work collaboratively together to address complex issues. When learning communities are cohort-based, they provide a powerful means for students to collectively (socially) construct their own cohort culture and reality,
their own language, humour, and knowledge sets, and engage
in the achieving of shared goals, enhance the process of meaning making, develop or enhance professional identities, and reinforce perseverance to complete the course or program (Berger
& Luckmann, 1967; Gergen, 2000; Wenger, 2006).
Learning communities support the conversational, dialogical, and, therefore, socially constructed nature of adult learning. Faculty members engage in learning conversations with
their students, who also engage in these conversations within the immediate learning community of their cohort
and the broader learning community of the  eld and the literature (Raelin, 2006; Vaill, 1996).
In a study directly relevant to this topic, a faculty member and graduate student at Royal Roads University undertook research to identify the theoretical basis for the nature and success of the university’s learning community model (Guilar and Loring, 2008). Based on interviews with faculty and students, the researchers concluded that the success of the learning community model was enhanced by the strength of its cohort-based foundation that helped to facilitate caring and supportive relationships, access to the professional knowledge relevant to the program under study, and a focus on real-life problems that grounded
the learning process.
Furthermore, previous research on cohort-based learning in the area of educational leadership, reported in Barnett
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