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2.13 Why Use Experiential Learning?
Use Experiential Learning To:
- Increase learning
- Increase motivation
- Increase in meaning for the learners
- Emphasizes connectiveness with the content and experiences
Experiential Learning Methods:
- Offer Active rather than passive involvement
- Are Experience based
- Relate experiences to the participants previous and possible future experiences
- Create a problem-posing and-solving atmosphere
- Form a dialogue between the student and the teacher
- Provide Active reflection
Attributes of Experiential Learning
- Action: the learner is not a passive receptacle but an active participant; and there is physical movement, not just sitting.
- Reflection: learning only occurs after the action is reflected upon.
- Phenomenological: objects or situations are described without assigning values, meanings or interpretations; the learner must ascribe meaning to what is going on; and the facilitator’s meaning must not be automatically forced upon the student.
- Subjective Human Experience: a view of the world that is the learner’s not the facilitator’s.
- Human Experience as a Source of Learning: “experiential learning then is an attempt to make use of human experience as part of the learning process” (p. 14, Burnard 1989)
Characteristics of Experiential Learning
- Student-Based Rather Than Teacher-Based: the learning encounter starts with the students’ ideas and concepts rather than the teacher’s or the book’s.
- Personal not Impersonal Nature: personal experiences and personal growth are valued in the classroom.
- Process and Product Orientation: emphasis is placed as much on learning as it is on the “right” answer.
- Evaluation for Internal and External Reasons: assessment is considered to be a learning experience that the students can learn to do on their own.
- Holistic Understanding and Component Analysis: students are urged to fully understand the content through the analysis of primary sources of the material and/or experiences with the material.
- Organized Around Experience: the students previous experiences are taken into account when creating the curriculum, as well as the new experiences that will be provided in the classroom, lab, or field trip.
- Perception-Based Rather Than Theory-Based: “experiential learning emphasizes a student?s ability to justify or explain a subject rather than recite an expert’s testimony” (p. 20)
- Individual-Based Rather Than Group-Based: group identity and socialization skills are stressed, however, emphasis is placed on the individual learning within the group rather then on the group as a whole; criterion-referenced rather than norm-referenced. Joplin (1981)
Burnard, P. (1989) Teaching Interpersonal Skills: A Handbook of Experiential Learning for Health Professionals. London: Chapman & Hall.
Joplin, L. (1981) On Defining Experiential Education. Journal of Experiential Education, 4 (1), 17-20.
Be sure to take the Self Test at the top of the page before proceeding to your next unit,2.14 How to Design and Use the Experiential Learning Cycle