Experiential learning is widely used in Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) higher education. This research determines whether experiential learning methods in HSEM higher education contribute to student-perceived learning gains in critical thinking skills for complex problems. This descriptive quantitative study piloted the use of the Student Assessment of Learning Gains survey in a graduate HSEM program incorporating extensive experiential opportunities. Key findings concluded that students perceived great gains in their understanding, skills, attitude, and integration of learning/critical thinking as well as a statistically significant strong correlation between student perceptions of gains in
critical thinking and application of knowledge to real-world complex problems and experiential learning. These findings indicate a potential approach for developing research-based practices for instructional
development and curriculum evaluations in this field.


Tiffany Danko

Tiffany Danko is a Lecturer in the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University and a Captain in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve. She holds an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University, an M.A. in Educational Technology from San Diego State University, and a B.S. in Government from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and is a graduate of the U.S. Naval War College Command and Staff Program and the Joint Forces Staff College Joint Combined Warfighting School. Dr. Danko has over 25 years’ experience in homeland security and emergency management, and has developed extensive programs, seminars, and coursework in homeland security, emergency management, leadership, and military matters.

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Perceptions of Gains Through Experiential Learning in Homeland Security and Emergency Management Education