Students sitting at long tables in a sunny classroom

Discover tools and strategies for drawing meaningful connections across courses and experiences.

What is Integrative Learning?

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) defines Integrative Learning as “an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus” (2009). Integrative Learning is now widely recognized as a key outcome in the undergraduate learning experience.

At the University of Denver, Integrative Learning is present in various campus wide programs including; ASEM and FSEM courses (first and final year learning experiences), student learning communities, diversity and global learning initiatives, the Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning (CCESL), community internships, and more. Many faculty also incorporate integrative learning in the classroom through practices like reflective assignments, ePortfolio projects, service-based learning, collaborative assignments, and experiential learning. In the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL), Integrative Learning is supported through facilitated workshops, faculty learning communities, and one-on-one consultations. Please see the links in the content below for additional resources related to Integrative Learning.

Characteristics of Integrative Learning

  • It is developed through both curricular and co-curricular experiences.
  • It involves synthesis and transfer of ideas to new situations.
  • It requires students to identify connections between different concepts and ideas.
  • It provides tools for integrating disparate facts, theories, and contexts.
  • It is a set of skills for understanding these connections that is built over time.
  • It begins with connections between previous knowledge and new classroom learning, then between one classroom setting to another, and finally between academic and non-academic (real-life) settings.
  • It is typically represented through self-assessment, reflection, or creative work.

High Impact Practices

A list of practices for teaching and learning that are linked to increased retention, completion, and satisfaction rates of students.

A man and a woman look to the left attentively
Aerial view of four people working together in the AAC.

Reflective ePortfolios

A curated collection of resources supporting the implementation of reflective ePortfolios at DU.

Articles & Resources

Association of American Colleges and Universities. (2009). Integrative learning VALUE rubric. Retrieved from

Huber, M. T., Hutchins, P., and the American Association of Colleges & Universities, (2004). Integrative Learning: Mapping the terrain. Retrieved from

Mansilla, V. B., and the American Association of Colleges & Universities (2008). Integrative Learning: Setting the stage for a pedagogy of the contemporary. Retrieved from