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Experiential Learning

Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is a chance to apply your knowledge and skills through hands-on experiences. These opportunities build valuable knowledge, essential skills, work habits, technical literacy and networks in business, industry and the community.

The following opportunities in experiential learning are available to high school students:

For more information:

James Corbett, Program Coordinator, Leadership, Learning, and School Improvement



Matthew Bradley, Coordinator: OYAP/Secondary Pathways, Leadership, Learning, and School Improvement



Business Studies

Business Studies provide opportunities for real-world learning experiences at every grade level through apprenticeship, college, university and workplace programs. The curriculum focuses on the function and operation of businesses, from small businesses to multinational enterprises.

Cooperative Education courses can be linked to senior Business Studies subjects for real-world experience, providing valuable career information and connections to future work and business opportunities.

Financial Literacy in Business Studies

A focus on financial literacy in business studies provides the tools necessary to make sound, lifelong financial decisions. A solid foundation provides an understanding of responsible, ethical and compassionate financial decision making.

Cooperative Education (Co-op)

Cooperative education (co-op) is a credit course that provides the opportunity to use what is learned in the classroom and apply it in the workplace. Co-op is an opportunity to “try out” a career and can help with making decisions about your future. You will also develop work habits, attitudes and job skills necessary for a successful transition to post-secondary education or the workplace.

How to Participate

Students can apply to take a cooperative education program when selecting courses through the co-op or guidance office. Before being accepted, you must complete an application and interview. Before beginning a co-op placement, you will attend pre-placement classes to help prepare for the workplace. You will also continue to take scheduled classes throughout the placement.

There is no limit to the number of co-op credits you can take. Up to two cooperative education credits can also count towards your 18 compulsory credits.

Programs and Placements

A number of centralized placements are available through unique partnerships between the TDSB and a range of companies and organizations, including:

  • Banking and Finance (placements in Toronto financial district)
  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • Hospitality and Tourism (placements in hotels and restaurants)
  • Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Toronto Police Services
  • University Health Network (UHN)
  • Across Experiences (a Dance/Drama and Media Arts Co-op that aims to build cross-cultural understanding with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students through storytelling, theatre, dance and new media)

For further details and to learn more about placement options, special application procedures and deadline dates, speak with the co-op teacher at your school.


Student Resources

Employer Resources

Summer Cooperative Education

If you are applying to summer coop please download the following forms as you will need them for eReg

Summer Cooperative Education Application Form
Paid Co-op Placement Form (Only for those student that have a paid summer job secured)


Specialized Co-op Programs

Adult Programs
Experiential learning programs are available for adult students at the following sites:
Area of Toronto School Contact Information
SW Burnhamthorpe Adult Learning Centre
500 The East Mall
Etobicoke, ON M9B 2C4
Phone: 416-394-3870
SE City Adult Learning Centre (CALC)
1 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON M4K 1M8
Phone: 416-393-9745
NE Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies (SCAS)
939 Progress Avenue
Scarborough, ON M1G 3T8
Phone: 416-396-6921
NW Emery Adult Learning Centre
3395 Weston Road
North York, ON M2M 3V9
Phone: 416-395-3233
NW Yorkdale Adult Learning Centre
38 Orfus Road
Toronto, ON M6A 1L6
Phone: 416-395-4417


Continuous Intake Co-op


Continuous Intake Co-op (CIC) is an alternative program for students facing challenges continuing with a standard school day or environment. As part of this program, you can work in a job of your choice and complete the co-op curriculum, learning about workplace safety, human rights, resume writing, interview skills, employment standards and other work-related topics.

Students may also apply for and obtain paying, entry-level jobs. Students are generally referred to the program by a guidance councillor or administrator, however if you are out of school, you can enrol directly. You can join the program at any time during the school year and may earn one, two, three or four secondary credits. This program is open to students aged 17-20.

Co-op and English as a Second Language

Some schools offer a package of courses to students who are learning English. This may include English as a Second Language and one or more highly-experiential guidance course such as Discovering the Workplace and Navigating the Workplace, which include workplace experience as part of the credit.

These packaged programs provide a strong foundation in the English language as well as workplace/community connections and Canadian work experience. They also prepare you for co-op courses in the future.

Technological Education

Technological education includes both broad-based technology and computer studies. It focuses on developing a student's ability to work creatively and competently with technologies through a combination of theoretical and hands-on learning. A variety of courses are available in technological education, including:

  • Integrated Technologies
  • Communications Technology
  • Computer Engineering Technology
  • Construction Technology
  • Green Industries
  • Hairstyling and Aesthetics
  • Health Care 
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Technological Design
  • Transportation Technology

Other Forms of Experiential Learning

Work-Site Visit

Work-site visits allow you to spend a half or full day touring a workplace with your teacher and class to hear from employees in different jobs. It's an opportunity to see the various occupations available in a workplace or sector. Teachers in any course of study can plan work-site visits and you can ask your teachers about possible visits planned throughout the year.

Job Shadowing and Job Twinning

Students may accompany a cooperative education student to his/her placement for a half or full day to learn more and observe what someone does in their job, one-on-one. You can participate in more than one job shadowing or twinning experience and as part of any credit course.

Work Experience

Work experience allows you to participate in a workplace for a limited time (from one week to four weeks) and can be part of any credit course. It's an opportunity to try out an occupation related to a school subject and make connections with the school curriculum in a work setting. You can participate in more than one work experience in any school year.

More information about Career Exploration and Experiential Learning