Experiential Learning

“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand”. (Confucius circa 450BC)

APPEL oversees and supports the experiential learning placements for all students enrolled on the integrated pharmacy programmes in the three Schools of Pharmacy across Ireland.

In its simplest form, experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential learning is designed to expose students to real-life practice as a means of putting their academic studies into context and refers to learning undertaken by students within real-world pharmacy settings.

By creating authentic and meaningful learning experiences, the student is enabled to acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required in professional practice. Through concrete experiences with patients and with practising pharmacists, within the reality of the workplace environment, students can review and reflect on events, make connections to other experiences, and begin to generalise and apply this learning to new contexts.

Students are therefore encultured into a way of reasoning and acting that supports their transition into and development within the pharmacy profession.

APPEL’s Placements

APPEL’s experiential learning placements will be provided in a variety of practice settings from community and hospital pharmacy to industry and Role Emerging Practice (REP) settings. This enables students to be exposed to a variety of practice settings throughout the integrated pharmacy programme, so that the depth and breadth of experience provided to the student will be wide and varied.

Tasks will be assigned to the students while on their experiential placements. This structured learning is intended to provide students with a planned approach and to meet programme and experiential learning goals, with Trainers involved in planning and feedback. This allows the student to develop the required competencies, which are aligned to professional entry requirements, over the five-year programme.

APPEL’s experiential learning programme commences with a short placement (either a two-week block or a twelve-week longitudinal placement of one afternoon per week for twelve weeks) in second year, followed by a four-month placement in fourth year, and an eight-month placement in fifth year.

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Placement Trainers

The invaluable role of an APPEL Trainer is that of helping to nurture the knowledge, skills, behaviours, and values of the student along their journey of experiential learning. Supervisors, Preceptors, and Senior Preceptors are integral to the students’ transition to a pharmacist. Supervising students also provides the Trainers with the opportunity to develop new skills, to nurture and promote the profession of pharmacy, and to influence the education of our future colleagues.


Lewis, L.H. & Williams C.J. (1994). In Jackson, L. & Caffarella R.S. (Eds.) Experiential Learning: A New Approach.