Experiential Learning-Importance and Benefits
Learning is unique, individual, complex and multi-dimensional process. Experiential learning was common phenomena in Indian Ancient Education System. Indian Guru “Rishi-Muni” used to develop knowledge and life skills promoting experiential learning system. Students used to learn Vedas through chanting but at the same time all learners used to learn other life skills in a real life learning place and space. When a student used to visit different places for collecting food and other items; students used to interact with thousands of indifferent people, and come across different cultural ethos. Their learning experience used to help those students to apply knowledge in hardship and difficult circumstances. It could not possible through only learning Vedas and other great Scriptures while staying in an Ashram. Experiential learning is an integration of 5 human senses and experiencing different learning circumstances individually and lively in real life. So, we feel that experiential learning is integration of human values and scientific approach. Learning with experience consists of individual’s involvement, good or bad/failure or success/plus or minus experience, review of outcome (gain or loss), developed conscience and implication of learnt experience for further action or task.
Credit goes to David A. Kolb who established experiential learning as modern educational learning concepts 1970s, but initially credit goes to John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and who laid the conceptual foundation of it.
Wikipedia explains, “experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing”. In a final note UNESCO mentioned it on official website( http://www.unesco.org) “Experiential learning is a process that develops knowledge, skills and attitudes based on consciously thinking about an experience. Thus, it involves direct and active personal experience combined with reflection and feedback. Experiential learning is personal and effective in nature, influencing both feelings and emotions as well as enhancing knowledge and skills.”
Experiential learning is well known as “learning by doing”, “hands on experience”, “field work” “Laboratory Learning” ,(“experiment in different laboratory”) and real –world experience to achieve their learning goals. Experiential learning promotes active and effective learning within and beyond the classroom. Experiential learning helps to develop better comprehension, (knowledge) and equipped learners with life skills, different attitude and values directly in a real life learning place and space.
Experiential learning considers the individual learning process. Educator becomes a guide of imparting hands on learning experience for each and every student of the class. Mathematics “unit “Measurement” can be used by core subject teacher (Science, Math, Social Science, Languages and Art and Drawing Teacher) for promoting experiential learning in the classroom. Experiential learning focuses on “how to” by the students in the presence of teacher as well as without teacher’s presence on the spot. Maximum learning outcomes can be observed, when student willingness to involve actively in the learning process; moreover educator’s willingness to ensure active involvement of students’ in the learning process. Experiential learning provides golden opportunity for educators to impart quality education which leaves lifelong impact in learners’ life; therefore it is a journey from abstract to concrete, passive participation to active participation inside and outside the classroom.
Experiential learning promotes effective learning strategies to maximize learning in the classroom. When educator promotes experiential learning; s/he not only provides opportunity to explore, opportunity to discover, opportunity to enquire but also opportunity to commit mistakes while learning something new/trying something creative and innovative without creating error threatening learning environment for the learners. Educator promotes real time and space learning experience to touch, to feel, to involve, and to communicate rather on sitting passively and silently in the classroom and listening their teacher one after another for an unending long hour. Sometimes it turns into an awkward class, when after 2-3 minutes of regular teaching in the classroom, concerned subject teacher asks students, “ Did you understood it” and students reply “ yes” sir/madam. In other words “ a big lecture on driving may not work in actual ground, if the learner could not touch the vehicle and hold the steering, or students may not develop proper understanding of soil testing after hearing a big lecture in the classroom without going in real field to collect sample of soil and experimenting in laboratory, applying laboratory calculation and experimental result back to real ground, compare and contrasting present and previous outcome and then working on new task and outcome based on previous experience.
Valuable & Informative Resources on Experiential Learning
Felicia, Patrick (2011). Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation. p. 1003. ISBN 1609604962.
Breunig, Mary C. (2009). “Teaching Dewey’s Experience and EducationExperientially”. In Stremba, Bob; Bisson, Christian A. (eds.). Teaching Adventure Education Theory: Best Practices. p. 122. ISBN 9780736071260.