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Experiential Learning (X1)

UMW News Bureau

Montana Western’s Classes are Different Students at Montana Western take one class at a time. Instead of having three or four classes a day for about 50 minutes, Montana Western offers one class for 18 days for three hours a day. We call this scheduling system Experience One (X1). What is X1? It is an innovative way to learn.  At Montana Western, students take one class at a time, three hours a day for eighteen days before moving on to the next class.  Our students don’t have to study for multiple subjects at the same time. Our professors don’t lecture for entire class periods. Our class periods are full of discussion, research, presentations, experimentation and workshops. X1 allows students to devote their entire focus to the one class they are taking before moving on and switching subject focus. How Does it work? In traditional semester systems, students take four classes all semester for a few hours each week. In an X1 semester, students take four classes, one at a time for three hours each day. x1 trad sem How large are X1 classes? Instead of lecture halls full of 400+ students, Montana Western offers class sizes that average about fifteen students. Instead of listening to lectures, Montana Western students actively discuss what they are learning with fellow classmates. Montana Western’s student to faculty ratio is 16:1. That means that professors know the students by name and care about their success. It also means that students know their professors by name and can easily ask them for help or assistance. Can Students Transfer into X1? Yes. Each eighteen day block class is worth 4 credits. A full time student will take four blocks a semester totaling 16 credits, the same amount of credits a student would earn in a traditional semester system taking four 4 credit classes all semester. Because each block class carries the same amount of credit as a semester long class, credits transfer in and out of the block system.  What are the benefits of X1?
  • In depth, critical thinking about one subject every day for eighteen days results in a firmer grasp on subject matter. 
  • The intense schedule discourages procrastination.
  • Because class time is three hours instead of 50 minutes, students discuss, experiment, share ideas, present and experience instead of simply listening to a lecture. 
  • Less talk, more action; time for hands-on learning and application.
  • If a block class requires time off campus on a field trip, students can leave for a few days without missing other course work.
  • Students who work summer jobs that don’t allow them to start school at the end of August can simply start with the second block of the year instead of missing the first few weeks of classes.