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 on the understanding level of any individual. What we learn by doing is something that gets stored in our data stock forever.
Kid’s Play School can be taken as a simple example to establish this very fact. It’s totally unlike formal education system, where only the information is being passed. “Give a person a fish and they can have a meal, teach the person to catch fish and they can eat fish for a lifetime. ” This proverb throws some more light on the topic of experiential learning and how it benefits us. At times it is also seen that watching a video clip can also make us learn things. It to a great extent is helpful.
But there’s still a huge difference lingering between the two. You can easily forget the content of the video clip or maybe you confuse it with some other clip, but what you experience in real life, can neither be forgotten nor confused. Its damn clear always, crystal clear! Therefore, it is highly recommended that whatever you are learning, you should for once experience it too. Be a part of this experiential and adventurous family. Wonder Outdoors welcomes you aboard.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 October 2016
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