When I visited USC, I remember hearing about the ELC. Many of the Marshall students speaking on the panels said such great things about the it. Then, at an event during my first week at USC , numerous students said that their favorite part of Marshall was the ELC. Obviously, I knew that students loved the ELC, but I still didn’t understand, what exactly was the ELC?!
In simple terms, the ELC, formally known as the Experiential Learning Center, is a training facility. Students can complete exercises in group settings that help them work on their negotiation, communication, decision making abilities, and many more. Students can also complete exercises individually that help work on their presentation skills. So, why can’t students perform these activities in a regular classroom setting? The biggest draw to the ELC is that it videotapes students performing the activities. After the activity is complete, students gather and watch the video clips, and just by watching the interactions between students as well as individuals’ actions, students are able to learn a lot.
Last semester, I took BUAD 304, which is Leading Organizations. In this class, we came to the ELC almost every other week. I remember one week, our class was split into different groups, but each group had the same scenario. We were all stranded in the Arctic tundra, and had to ultimately decide if we were going to stay where we were, or go try to find a way to safety. After that decision was made, we had to rank a list of 30 supplies in the order that we would want them (flashlight, wood, water, etc.) After the activity was over, all of the students were able to watch video clips from all the groups and see the different approaches that were taken to making the decisions and what was most effective. While the activity seemed very fun in the moment, we were also learning about effective decision making at the same time.
The ELC is the perfect way for students to learn while having fun; I know that I have enjoyed all of the times that I have been in the ELC, and also learned a lot!