Experiential learningMarch 12, 2022 2022-03-21 12:01
Everyone deserves an education, but it’s also critical that we be able to study in a way that meets and respects our particular needs and peculiarities. Traditional learning methods have favored people with a strong memory, but learning is about much more than passing an exam.
Experiential learning is a learning theory that offers an alternative to more standard learning models, therefore we decided to look at how the experiential learning cycle works, the benefits of this form of learning, and how to use it in many aspects of life.
- What is EL and how does it work?
Experiential learning is the belief that our continual interactions and involvement with the world around us produce experiences, and that learning is an unavoidable byproduct of experience. This learning theory differs from cognitive and behavioral learning theories in that it takes a holistic approach to learning. It takes into account the importance that all of our experiences, including emotions, cognition, and environmental circumstances, play in our learning.
The experiential learning theory promotes deep learning above surface learning, two concepts that are distinguished in the University of Groningen’s Active learning in practice open phase. Surface learning often entails preparing for an exam, which may be accomplished by memorizing knowledge from a textbook, and information may not be effectively recalled.
Deep learning, on the other hand, usually entails learning about something through a variety of approaches, such as reading, experimenting, role-playing, and discussing. These strategies encourage students to apply and discuss theories rather than simply memories them, allowing them to have a deeper understanding of what they’re studying.
Learning from experience requires a process of resolving conflict between competing concepts, described as ‘cognitive conflict’ and ‘cognitive dissonance,’ according to the University of New South Wales’ Learning from experience: What the student does open step. This shows how experiential learning may drive students to break old habits, challenge old beliefs, and try new things.
- The experiential learning cycle of David Kolb
We’ll go through David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle in more depth now that we’ve examined what experiential learning is in general. Kolb is an educational theorist from the United States who first published his theories on experiential learning in 1984. He proposed that the learning cycle had four key stages, which we’ll go through below:
- Concrete Experience
The cycle starts with the learner having a tangible experience, which might be learning something completely new or experiencing something old in a new manner. Learning to ride a bike, seeing a play for the first time, or playing an instrument are all examples of this, but it might be anything.
- Reflective Observation
The following stage of the cycle is crucial, and it revolves around reflection. After having a tangible experience, the learner should spend some time reflecting on what happened or watching others perform the same thing and thinking about what they’re seeing.
We examine how reflecting using a notebook or template might help you assess or evaluate your progress while learning something new in our Individual methods to reflection open step. Simple questions like ‘What went well?’, ‘What am I having trouble with?’, and ‘What might I do differently?’ can assist you in making improvements for the future.
- Abstract Conceptualization
It’s time for the learner to make sense of their experience and reflections once they’ve reflected on their concrete experience. They may consider their next steps for improvement, devise a plan of action, or seek advice from literature or an expert. This enables individuals to generate new thoughts or change old abstract notions in order to take action.
- Active Experimentation
The third step in Kolb’s cycle is known as active experimentation, and it involves acting on your earlier reflections and thoughts. When the learner tries the experience a second time, they use what they’ve learned from the first time and observe whether there are any changes. This is simply a chance to put fresh ideas to the test.
The learner will receive a fresh tangible experience as a consequence of this active exploration, and the cycle will begin all over again. This cycle can continue until the learner has gained confidence in the subject and is satisfied with the outcome of the practical experience. You can assure a stronger retention of material by allowing learners to assess their knowledge in this way.
- The experiential learning styles
On their website, the Experiential Learning Institute outlines how each person navigates the learning cycle in their own unique way. The Kolb Learning Style Inventory reveals that there are nine various methods to navigate the learning cycle, which are impacted by a range of elements such as our personalities, educational levels, jobs, cultures, and more.
He claims that when we’re on autopilot or under stress, we prefer to begin with one of these learning methods and fall back on it as a habit. Understanding these diverse learning styles can help us better comprehend individuals who learn in different ways than we do, which can help us enhance our collaboration, leadership, and communication abilities.
- Because you get significance from your experiences and connections, you thrive on collaboration and emotional connection with people.
- You get the most out of watching and thinking on situations, and you have a sympathetic and creative mentality while you work.
- You are slow and cautious, preferring to study others and absorb information from several sources before taking action.
- You prefer to think about your experiences in a methodical and analytical way, and then make plans to minimize mistakes and test assumptions.
- You tend to use logic and reasoning to form arguments, and you enjoy using quantitative approaches to make judgments and communicate your opinions.
- You’re an excellent decision-maker who likes to create concrete objectives and work toward them by planning and reviewing them as you go.
- You are goal-oriented and use assertiveness and commitment to achieve your objectives in a short amount of time.
- You have an adventurous spirit and enjoy thinking on your feet and taking chances in order to explore new possibilities.
- You analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each circumstance, identifying gaps, bridging interpersonal differences, and assisting your team in fast adapting.
- What are some of the advantages of experiential learning?
- There’s more freedom for creativity
- It’s simpler to understand complex or complicated subjects
- It helps you to learn from your errors
- It stimulates contemplation and introspection It prepares you for future experiences and adult life
- Teachers report that students’ attitudes toward learning have improved.
- Other locations where experiential learning theory can be used
- Sports coaching. By giving athletes time to reflect on their performance, experiential learning may help them train to their full potential. It may also be an effective strategy for sports coaches to assist their athletes improve.
- Workplace training. Experiential learning, rather than reading guidebooks and articles, might be a lot more efficient way of remembering new information, depending on the sort of workplace you work in.
- Research field trip. Experiential learning theory is ideal for research since it is necessary to explore, reflect, adjust, and re-evaluate throughout a research trip or project.
- Learning new skills. The experience learning cycle may help you make consistent progress whether you’re learning a new sport, instrument, or soft skill.
- Internship. An internship is ideal for anyone trying out a new profession, and experience learning may help you learn as much as possible in the time you have.
- Final thoughts
Experiential learning may be highly beneficial regardless of who you are, whether you are a teacher, a student, or something entirely else. It promotes the concept that learning is a lifelong process and that in order to grow personally or professionally, you don’t have to keep to traditional learning techniques.
We offer various courses that foster a growth mentality when it comes to studying, so if you’re looking for a new challenge, try enrolling in one of them. For instance, Samsung’s Designing a Future Where Learning is a Lifestyle course will show you how to leverage technology to help reimagine the future of education.