Skip to main content

How To Learn Digital Marketing Practically Through Experiential Learning

A group of three digital marketing students looking at a laptop.

Written by Hannah Ghadimi, an alumna of the Telfer School of Management. This article was first published on Hannah's personal website on December 4th, 2022. 

Curious about how to learn digital marketing through hands-on experience beyond the classroom? Consider taking the Telfer School of Management’s digital marketing course, ADM 4326, taught by Jonathan Simon. 

A unique component of Simon’s course is experiential learning, which allows you develop skills through practice. Your hands-on experience and reflection mean you’re better able to connect classroom knowledge to real-world situations. 

You can develop the following: 

  • A better understanding of the course material 

  • Insight into your own skills, interests, passions and values 

  • Good professional practices and a skill set 

  • Self-confidence and leadership skills 

Over the years, Simon has added several experiential learning options. For example, as a student in his class, I learned how to create my own website using Pagecloud.  

Picture of Jonathan Simon, Director of Marketing and Digital Marketing professor.“I really feel strongly that the best way to learn digital marketing is to do digital marketing and you can't do digital marketing without tools. This is why the partnership with Pagecloud is so important for the students. (They) get to learn the theoretical digital marketing concepts, but then they have the ability to experiment on their own and experimentation is at the heart of digital marketing.”

- Jonathan Simon

Free access to build your own website 

In 2017, students told the Telfer Career Centre about their need to gain digital marketing skills to stand out to employers. 

When Simon joined the school, he originally partnered with the centre, which helped him invite guest speakers to every class. 

This also helped him build a connection with Henry Brown and Philip Westfall, Telfer alumni working in the marketing department at Pagecloud. They agreed to give students free access to the platform for life.  

Over 12 terms, 700 students have built their own websites and learned to market their digital projects. 

As part of the course, you’ll learn about the latest strategies and tactics in the field while executing these strategies through a term-long digital marketing project on a website platform. 

Serving the community while learning 

Simon added community service learning to the course in fall 2022, partnering with the uOttawa Community Service Learning (CSL) program, which had just been awarded funding for social engagement projects. The CSL team was looking for courses and professors who wanted to be part of this pilot project.  

In Simon’s course, you can participate in a group project, creating a digital marketing strategy for a local non-profit. In collaboration with the CSL program, you can take part in a social engagement digital marketing project. 

In addition to helping a local non-profit organization, all 13 students, who are selected by a lottery and fill out a survey at the end, receive cheques for $1,050. 

Taking part in this project can help you build your network while also engaging in community service learning. Here are other key benefits of engaging in community service

  • Helps build a connection to the communityThree digital marketing students lookin at a cellphone.

  • Benefits your career prospects 

  • Raises social awareness 

  • Establishes contacts and friendships 

  • Helps improve your skills 

The benefits of this unique learning method vary from one uOttawa student to another. Here’s what one of Simon’s former students, Liz Tran, who landed a consulting job in one of the "big four", had to say: 

“I chose to do the group project to help a local business grow. I have a background in consulting, so I took it as a way to apply my skills to recommend realistic strategies to help businesses solve their problems.”  

Lifelong learning  

Through the course, you learn skills that you can take into the business world and beyond. After creating a website, you keep it for life. This is beneficial for anyone who wants to continue building their personal brand. 

You also gain knowledge on the latest trends in data analytics, content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile marketing, social media marketing and more. 

In addition to course lectures, in partnership with the Telfer Career Centre, you can learn about latest industry techniques from top guest speakers in the field. Companies that have participated include Pagecloud, Shopify, Adobe, seoplus+ and Unilever. 

If you want to learn digital marketing and gain hands-on experience, consider taking ADM 4326 with Jonathan Simon during the fall or spring-summer term during your undergraduate degree at Telfer. 

About the Author

Hannah Ghadimi est une diplômée de Telfer, ayant complété le B.Com. en marketing avec une option complémentaire en analytique de gestion. Au cours de son stage de travail dans le cadre du programme co-op, elle s'est spécialisée en marketing de contenu au sein de l'équipe de transformation numérique et d'engagement, plus particulièrement sur la création de contenu destiné aux étudiantes et étudiants du MBA. Dans ses temps libres, Hannah aime faire de la pâtisserie et rester active.<br/><br/> Hannah Ghadimi is a Telfer alumna, having completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing with a complimentary option in Business Analytics. During her CO-OP work term, she was a Content Marketer on the Digital Transformation and Engagement Team at the Telfer School of Management. Hannah focused on creating content for MBA students. In her spare time, Hannah enjoys baking and staying active.