The tradition of didactic learning is naturally giving way to the new era of experiential learning which allows the individual to enhance the knowledge based on real interaction (experience) with the world of knowledge. As the name suggests, ‘experiential’ itself is a way of experiencing the patterns of accessing knowledge, with emphasis on individual reflexes, at micro level and macro levels. However, it should not be confused with experiential education which deals with broader issues of educational structure and objectives.
How it works?
The experiential education is constructivist to the core. It depends on the active mental process of involvement of the learners. The learning builds understanding by the application of inquiry and reflection. This understanding is called the ‘mental model’ of the process. For instance we can take the mental model of the heart and how it works to pump our blood. It can be compared to an individual, or a learner guided by another, or a group of individuals working together to make out meaning from their inquiry. The process can evolve from our individual mental model and inquiries about something (construction), that can then be enhanced by our additional experiences and reflection (re-construction), and further modified by our interactions with others who are also engaged in inquiring about the same topic (re-co-construction). At the heart of the experiential education model we will find this evolving and scaffolding of learning through continuity and interactions.
Why we need experiential learning?
I hear, and I forget
I see, and I remember
I do, and I understand.
—Ancient Chinese proverb
As the Chinese proverb itself explains a lot regarding why we need experiential learning, yet here are some more reasons why it should be opted. A simple research on thinking and learning can take you to the outcome that learning through actively engaged process can actually make a huge impact...