Traditionally a lecture is an efficient way of transferring course content from a lecturer to the students. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean actual learning has been fostered. Research shows that during a regular lecture, a student’s attention diminishes within the first few minutes of the lecture.
In fact, it is thought that a student can capture in their notes a small percentage of a lecturer’s verbally conveyed content. In spite of this revelation, most universities across the world continue to use this method of learning. To mitigate this, experiential learning is an alternative method that is far much superior to typical lectures.
Definition Of Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is a process of learning through experience rather than a traditional academic classroom setting. This is a new approach to learning that fosters student engagement and interaction towards solving real-world issues. Experiential learning may be acquired through internships, field research, field trips or even studying abroad.
Importance Of Experiential Learning
Experience learning is an effective way of motivating learners since it involves them extensively and deeply in the learning process. Instead of being passive recipients of an already prepared content that is being delivered by their lecturer, the students actively engage with the content, peers and the instructor in an ongoing process of meaningful discovery.
Experiential learning offers the students an opportunity to apply knowledge already acquired in class in a real-world setting. It is at this point that they get a first-hand experience on real-world problems, discover and test solutions while interacting with others.
Experience learning enhances a deeper understanding of a concept or a situation and hence creating self-directed learners. Students can transfer their previous experiences from another context into a current context. In fact, circumstances are always being modified based on earlier experiences and hence motivating the students.
When a student is actively engaged in a learning process, they experience real-world challenges. Based on their intuition, they will naturally figure out how to come out with solutions based on previous encounters and experiences. Through this process, they strengthen the knowledge they already have and create a passion for wanting to explore more.
Experiential Learning Cycle
David Kolb in his experience learning model theory asserts that learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience’. This model is typically represented by the four-stage learning cycle as explained below.
- Experience – The student has a concrete experience.
- Reflection – In this stage, the student makes observations and thoughts based on real experience.
- Conceptualize – Based on observations and reflections the student develops a new conceptual understanding and may also create a new idea or modify an existing concept.
- Test – the student applies the conceptual understanding and uses it as a guide to explore new and purposeful experiences.
Forms Of Experiential Learning Include The Following:
– Fieldwork or field research is a supervised practice carried out by a student away from a classroom setting. This may involve research, surveying, exploration or interviewing and methodologies varies depending on the various fields.
– This refers to job training in a student’s field of interest where a student is attached to an organization. The student works in the direction of a staff member of the organization.
– This form of experiential learning integrates both reflection and expertise with meaningful community service. It helps the student to foster the learning experience while meeting societal needs.
– it is an educational approach whereby student teachers are enrolled in schools of education and get experience in real classrooms. The experience learning usually takes place during an academic year and may last an equivalent period of a semester. The student-teachers refine their practice through learning classroom management techniques or preparing lesson plans under the supervision of an experienced cooperating teacher.
Study abroad – In this experiential learning approach, a student can study in a foreign nation and diverse culture. You get to experience a whole new country with incredible outlook, activities, and customs. The challenge to adapt to the new changes is an excellent way to experience and learn how other people live regarding their culture and traditions.
– this approach offers a student an opportunity to work in a professional environment under the surveillance of a qualified staff member with the guidance of a faculty member. This allows the student to integrate the theory and knowledge already taught in a classroom with the application of principles and practice in a real-world setting. Practicum is closely related to an internship.