Auteur : Marina Arshavskiy
Date de l'info : 10 février 2015
What Is Experiential Learning?
Way back in 350 BCE, a Greek philosopher, thinker, mathematician, astrologer, historian and analyst, wrote: “…for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” Even prior to that, the Chinese philosopher, Confucius, wrote:
I hear and I forget
I see and I remember
I do, and I understand!
Based on that, one might say that Confucius and Aristotle actually planted the seeds of Experiential Learning as it is formally called today.
Until those fundamental principles of Experiential Learning were articulated and understood, learning environments were confined to didactic and rote styles, where learners had more of a passive role to play in their education.
Perhaps a more “modern” definition of what Experiential Learning is all about comes from The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB Task Force, in their 1989 report, defined Experiential Learning as a:
“…curriculum-related endeavor which is interactive (other than between teacher and pupil) and is characterized by variability and uncertainty”
5 Critical elements of Experiential Learning
If we carefully analyze the above definition, we can see there are several key elements that a curriculum must embrace for it to meet the criteria of being called “experiential”:
Unlike one-way rote or didactic learning, Experiential Learning is all about participation and two-way learning experiences, where students and other stakeholders actively engage in learning experiences.
While most learning styles (even rote and didactic, one may argue) require interaction between teachers and students, Experiential Learning stresses other interactions as well – student-student, student-environment and student-outsiders (clients, civic leaders, community members etc.). In other words, Experiential Learning experiences take learners beyond the classroom, and ventures out into the real world.
Not only does Experiential Learning tap the behavioral dimensions of learners, but also their affective and cognitive dimensions.
- Variability and Uncertainty.
While “rote based” students are unprepared to deal with anything other than the prescribed syllabus, Experiential Learning curriculum is deliberately structured to add uncertainty and variability into the learning environment. Under the teacher’s guidance, learners are taught to deal with situations that they are unfamiliar with.
Experiential Learning relies heavily on feedback loops, both from students about their experiences, and from teachers about their views of the process.
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