What is Experiential Learning? History, Examples, Teacher Role and Impact
Experiential Learning is a familiar term with a lot of undiscovered information. The process of knowledge seeking is incomplete if a learner is simply acquiring information without understanding it. Even with the best of teachers, this learning gap seems to be inevitable sometimes. Experiential learning is a 21st-century learning tool which opens doors to facilities that fill this gap efficiently.
What Is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning can be described as a strategic method of learning that mandates the learner’s experience in a concept that is to be learnt. In simpler terms, it is learning by doing. This type of learning progresses in three stages – knowledge, activity and analysis. The learner first collects facts, theories and other forms of information from various sources, applies this information to real-life scenarios and analyses the effect. When concepts are learnt in this way, they become unforgettable.
Example: Using the Rubik’s Cube to understand the mathematical equation or using role play to understand concepts in English are great examples of this type of learning.
History Behind Experiential Learning
The exploration of experience in learning began with the debates between empiricists and rationalists. The former believed that what cannot be experienced cannot be known while the latter insisted that knowledge acquired through senses is unreliable. Kurt Hahn was among the first ones to adopt this method and put it into practice. He founded schools in various parts of the world along with the Duke of Edinburgh Award for those who fall within the age group of 14 to 25 years and indulged in learning through voluntary, cultural and adventurous activities.
Role Of A Teacher in Experiential Learning
In this type of education, the teacher plays the role of a facilitator ensuring that a student has access to all the learning material that will help in gaining knowledge through experience. Many modern-day tools like the Next Learning Platform, support the teacher in this endeavour by putting the learner at centre stage and allowing them to explore concepts on their own with examples of how the same can be applied to life.
Even knowledge assessment in this type of learning becomes child-centric. Every child gets a chance to progress in academics at their own pace. It is not about what teachers can teach but how they can help students explore.
In this new role as a facilitator, the teacher works towards creating a safe environment where situations are recreated for students to apply the learnt concepts and discover the response by themselves. Learning in this way, helps children learn faster and better. This method of teaching eliminates the need for the repetition of concepts. Repetition does not add to one’s knowledge. Instead, it reduces attention and reception by 50% from the second day itself.
Impact Of Experiential Learning
Experiential learning has multiple benefits when it comes to knowledge assimilation and grasping. When embraced into the curriculum it boosts scores and improves students’ confidence in their academic progress. Here are a few of its benefits
Increased concept grasping
Increased concept grasping is one of the first benefits of this type of learning. A study published in PLOS Biology on 20,000 students revealed that concept grasping increased by 48% in elementary school students and 27% in middle school and high school students.
Increased creativity is second on the list of benefits. With no restriction on how to learn a particular concept/subject, students tend to explore different ways of understanding the same. In this process, they discover their hidden creativity and new ways of learning things.
Opportunity to reflect on their learning
They get an opportunity to reflect on their learning. Here students can analyse what they are learning, the ways it can be learnt and the impact each subject/concept has on their learning journey. In this way, education becomes more meaningful and learning becomes long-lasting.
Greater scope for mistakes
There is greater scope for mistakes when they become opportunities to improve their understanding and expand their knowledge. Students have greater scope for error and a chance to understand where and why they are going wrong. This will eventually decrease the errors and develop confidence in learners.
Experiential learning has such a positive impact on the process of learning that it is quickly becoming popular in all learning environments. It continues to become more interesting as you dig deeper into the subject. You too can help your students embrace this efficient way of learning through NextLabs.