Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.
Experiential learning in simple words can be defined as learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential education first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.
The first theories of experiential learning arose in the mid-nineteenth century as attempts to move away from traditional formal education, where teachers simply presented students with abstract concepts, and toward an immersive method of instruction. Students would “learn by doing,” applying knowledge to experience in order to develop skills or new ways of thinking.
In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus, first described the “learning curve”, which is a graphical representation of how an increase in learning comes from greater experience; or how the more someone performs a task, the better they get at it.
Raghuram Rajan, Former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, educationist and one of the leading economists in the world, said, “Education should become experiential in nature, enabling students to not just consume information, but also use it effectively in the real world. Such an approach, called ‘interwoven learning’, interweaves various academic disciplines and breaks the silos between the classroom and the real world – thereby training students for an increasingly complex, diverse and dynamic world.”
This concept is more relevant than ever in today’s time, where the attention span of students is decreasing, experiential learning is emerging to be the future of education.
Skills for Future
Experiential learning gives learners the skills and experience they need for real-world success. More often than not, employees seem to lack problem-solving skills and don’t seem to be able to apply what they’ve learnt in training to the workplace. Experiential learning may lead to higher domain specific creativity and practical use of knowledge, whereas direct instruction may yield higher practical knowledge scores.
Our traditional learning system has been more of a theoretical than practical. This has given birth to rote learning. But, experiential learning promotes the concept of “Learning by Doing”, which accelerates the process of learning. Experiential Learning methodology uses critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making to deliver a training module.
One size fits all approach has long been ostracized from the education industry. Educators have realised the need and importance of personalized learning for better skilling of the students.
Experiential learning enables the approach of personalized learning as it supports the concept of flipped learning, where learning goes to the students, not the other way round. The participants set their own learning pace and hence understand better.
For personalized learning, every program should inculcate the following things: Assessment, teaching and learning strategy, and curriculum choice. Experiential learning methodology is highly effective in meeting these requirements to enable personalized learning.