Experiential Learning, Conversational Learning, Communicative Connection, Stories


The purpose of this piece is to call attention to learning conversations—to bring forth an understanding of the power of storytelling, and how it functions to make communicative connections possible, thus helping students learn. I want to highlight the value of an embodied way of engaging students during service learning. I begin this perspective by telling the story behind the story of this “learning conversation.” Following that, I provide a rationale for building a communicative connection—a relationship—between the classroom and the community through service learning. Kolb’s (1984) “Experiential Learning Theory” is introduced as a means of building this relationship or bridge to connect the instructional environment of the classroom and the practices of the community through conversational learning. The final section describes a pedagogical praxis grounded in the experience of the learning community, its service learning initiative, and the power of organizing conversations through story.

Christina L. McDowell Marinchak is an Assistant Professor of Business Communication at University of Alaska, Anchorage.