Experiential learning is making waves as the new go-to method of learning. It is the process of learning by doing, wherein students can reflect on the experiences they have and obtain lessons using that method. Several learning activities are involved in experiential learning, such as field exercises, internships, field research, laboratory experiments, role-playing activities, practicums, and more.
Discover more about the experiential learning approach in teaching and the various methods used for its application.
Experiential Learning Approach in Teaching
The experiential learning approach in teaching is when students learn through first-hand experience. It is more effective than traditional methods of teaching because it is based on the practical application of knowledge.
The following is a closer look at each of the learning methods that are recommended under the experiential learning approach.
- Converger – This learning method combines the characteristics of abstract conceptualization with active experimentation. This type of learning approach is recommended for the practical application of ideas. It also utilizes hypo-deductive reasoning in problem-solving. The downside to this approach is that it has narrow interests and takes an unemotional approach to learning.
- Diverger – This learning method combines concrete experience with reflective observation. It is effective in promoting the student’s imaginative ability. It is also recommended if you want to promote new ideas and for generating new perspectives. This approach to learning exposes one to various cultural interests and a broad interest in people.
- Assimilator – This teaching method for experiential learning combines abstract conceptualization and reflective observation. This teaching method is recommended to improve the student’s ability to devise theoretical models and to improve inductive reasoning ability. The downside to this approach to experiential learning is that it focuses on abstract concepts over people and concrete applications.
- Accommodator – This teaching method combines the characteristics of active experimentation with concrete experience. The nature of this learning style is about taking risks and doing things that are outside of a student’s comfort zone. Therefore, a student who is taught using this method can perform well under pressure and respond quickly and efficiently under various circumstances. Using this teaching method also promotes problem-solving skills.
Practical Ways to Implement Experiential Learning Styles
The above list is an overview of the different learning methods and styles used in experiential learning. But how do you apply them in a classroom or outside of the classroom setting? It’s important to incorporate more than one learning style. This will ensure complete learning and equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge they must learn.
- Experiencing – Engage your students in activities that allow them to experience things and relationships. This approach to learning enables them to thrive in collaborative situations and improves their ability to work within a team.
- Imagining – This approach to learning improves a student’s ability to show empathy and expand their creative thinking ability.
- Reflecting – It requires students to take a slow approach and to observe before acting to ensure that they can process information properly.
- Analyzing – It requires students to be systematic and critical about their experiences and assumptions of those experiences.
- Thinking – It develops a student’s logical reasoning ability. It also equips them with the tools to communicate their ideas more effectively.
- Deciding – It promotes a student’s ability to assess a given situation and make decisions accordingly.
- Acting – This approach to learning requires a student to be assertive and committed to the decisions they make and to stand by the consequences.
- Balancing – It requires a student to look at the pros and cons of every situation and to adapt to an ever-changing situation
Role of Teacher in Experiential Learning
Aside from the unique experiential learning approach in teaching, it is important to look at the teacher’s role in this method of learning. Unlike a traditional classroom setting, the teacher’s primary role in experiential learning is to build a suitable learning experience that would facilitate the learning process instead of providing students instruction in the traditional method.
The teacher acts as the facilitator of learning in the classroom wherein the students are at the center of the learning experience. Aside from being the facilitator, the teacher acts as the subject expert. They help organize the students’ learning and connect any reflections that the student makes to the knowledge base. This promotes continuous learning and also critical thinking for the students.
Finally, the teacher can act as a coach in evaluating to ensure that the knowledge acquired by students is aligned with the subject area. While students have the freedom to interact with every experience, it is also important to ensure that they meet their learning objectives.
Experiential leadership development uses practical experiences to develop leadership skills through simulations, activities, and reflection.
Apply experiential learning in the workplace by providing real-life projects, simulations, and collaborative problem-solving opportunities. Encourage reflection, feedback, and practical application of new skills. Foster a supportive learning culture.
An example of experiential learning in the workplace is a team-building exercise where employees are given a challenging task that requires them to collaborate, problem-solve, and make decisions together. Through this hands-on experience, they gain practical insights into teamwork, communication, and leadership dynamics.