What Is Experiential Learning
What Is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning refers to a learning process that involves students learning by doing and reflecting on their experiences. All of us have learned how to walk and talk by practicing our skills and refining them. Trainers and facilitators are able to use this method in many situations with people of all walks of life.
EL does not discriminate on the basis of age, education, skills, abilities, or background.
Experiential learning is best described as:
“Developing personal understanding, knowledge and skills through reflection and analysis of activity”
This definition of “Activity” can encompass anything, from someone explaining something or completing a simple task to complex group interactions that involve a variety mental attributes and behaviours.
Experiential learning can be a powerful tool to help people make changes in their skills, attitudes, and behaviors, and then to implement them for improved performance.
Experiential learning programs that are well-designed, supervised, and evaluated can encourage academic inquiry through promoting interdisciplinarity, civic engagement and career development, cultural awareness and leadership, as well as other professional and intellectual abilities.
Trainers can help students have experiences that are based on what they are learning. Training can be a great way to help students learn and have fun at the same time.
The Experiential Learning Cycle
The Experiential Learning Cycle Kolb’s experiential style theory is represented typically by a four-stage learning process in which the learner “touches all bases”.
1. Concrete Experience – A new or altered experience, or a reinterpretation or interpretation of an existing experience.
2. Reflective Observation on the New Experience – It is important to notice any inconsistencies in experience and understanding.
3. Abstract Conceptualisation Reflection gives rise to a new or modified abstract concept (the person has learnt from their experiences).
4. Active Experimentation: The learner applies their idea(s), to the world around him to see what happens.
A person can learn effectively when they go through four stages. First, they have to experience a concrete experience. Then, they must observe and reflect on the experience. Next, they need to form abstract concepts (analysis) or generalisations (conclusions). These are then used to test their hypothesis in future situations.
Kolb (1984), sees learning as a continuous process, with each stage mutually supporting and feeding into the other. You can enter the cycle at any stage, and then follow its logic through.
Effective learning occurs only when the learner is able to execute all four stages. Each stage is not effective as a learning process in its own right.
Experiential learning has many benefits.
Experiential learning has many benefits for employees, including:
- Ability to apply knowledge immediately Students can apply the knowledge they have learned to real-world situations through experiential learning. This allows them to retain more information.
- Promoting teamwork. Learning in an experiential setting often requires students to work in a group. This allows them to practice teamwork.
- Motivation is improved. Experiential learning is more motivating and exciting for students. Students will love learning through experiments.
- Reflection is possible. Students who use the experiential model can spend time reflecting on what they have learned and experienced. This is important because they are more likely to retain information if they can reflect on what’s going on around them.
- Practical application. Learning that prepares students for the real world can be a huge benefit to them. Experiential learning focuses on real-world situations that help students learn so they can be better prepared for the future.
How it works
When carefully selected experiences are supported with reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis, experiential learning is possible.
The experiential learning process involves the learner actively engaging in asking questions, investigating and experimenting, being curious and solving problems.
Experiential Learning Activities
Simulate concrete experiences! Online learning is a great way to recreate real-world tasks in virtual reality. Online training can offer many options for these experiences, including game-based learning. Training scenarios can be built around game templates that are relevant to real life. This allows learners to practice their skills by reenacting what they do every day in their jobs. Customer service representatives could meet with a virtual customer to request a refund.
Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience and then reflecting on it. Because it directly involves students, experiential learning is part the larger category active learning. Experiential learning involves four components. The first is that the learner must be open to participating in the experience. The learner should be able reflect on the experience. The third requirement is that the learner has the ability to use analytic skills to understand the experience. To make the most of the experience, the learner should be able to problem solve and take decisions.
For Experiential Training contact our team for a tailored approach to your employee needs.