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How to Take an Experiential Learning Approach to Manufacturing

 You’ve probably heard students complain that they’ll never use advanced mathematics in the real world. It probably happens every year. You’d probably like to prove to them all the time that the theoretical concepts in the classroom have a definite link to a later career. Experiential learning is the way to do that.

Experiential learning is often helpful for students who feel disassociated from the subject they’re studying. But you probably don’t often think of manufacturing as an industry that you can take an experiential learning approach to, unless you’re a shop teacher. The thing is, contemporary manufacturing, more and more, requires skills you may not traditionally associate with the industry.

The face of Ontario manufacturing is changing. As automation changes the nature of manufacturing jobs, taking over old jobs while creating entirely new ones, the processes and technology that run assembly lines will become more complicated. Also, with higher labour costs in Canada, general manufacturing jobs will always be easier to outsource to somewhere else. It is hard for Canadian labour to compete.

But Canada can compete with the global manufacturing market when it comes to advanced manufacturing, where the need for more highly educated and technically competent individuals comes into play. But to compete in advanced manufacturing, we need a steady stream of bright young minds joining the ranks, who are excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for the future of Ontario manufacturing. Highly academic students will be needed to learn how to run the more complicated processes. Here are some ways you can take an experiential learning approach to subjects that are, or soon will be, necessary for a manufacturing job.

A New Experiential Learning Approach


If you’re interested in getting in touch with the manufacturing employers in your community, there are a couple of good ways of doing it. Edge Factor releases educational materials that you can share with your students, so they can see the exciting technology they could study if they pursue a career in manufacturing. Edge Factor’s goal is to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and makers.

Another experience that is gaining increasing popularity is Manufacturing Day, a day that manufacturers are using to attract new workers, dispel old myths about the industry, and as an educational event for educators to use to stimulate student ambitions. It was created in 2012, so it’s a relatively new event on the scene, which is why we’re trying to spread the word.

If you’re looking for a way to connect dry classroom theory with real-world applications, it’s easy to seek out a company on Manufacturing Day and arrange a tour or session. Manufacturing employers are eager to seek out younger employees who’d be interested in developing a lifelong career, so if you can’t find a Manufacturing Day event in your area, you could reach out to local manufacturers and suggest a Manufacturing Day event. Likely, they’ll be glad to help!

Learn More About the Opportunities Available to Your Students

The jobs landscape is changing, but you can help guide your students through this difficult terrain by getting in touch with manufacturers in your area. Download this free infographic to find out more. Jobs of the Future E-book


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