The Importance of Experiential Learning
Experiential learning is an educational approach or methodology that aims to help children learn through experiences. This means that students will learn the concepts and content of the curriculum through different situations.
Characteristics of experiential learning
The experiential learning methodology maintains that meaningful learning happens through actions. Experiential learning aims for students to participate in their learning, rather than memorizing information and listening to lectures.
To do this, they’ll use all their senses and reasoning capacities in educational experiences that are linked to real situations.
Experiential learning works hand in hand with other active learning methodologies. As it does this, it aims to involve the student in actively studying and investigating a particular phenomenon or situation.
This is similar to learning based on challenges, projects or problems, topics of interest, or Kolb’s experiential learning theory (ELT). All of them are globalized teaching-learning strategies that consider the individual needs of those who learn, and which, in this way, integrate and involve contents from a great variety of subjects.
As we’ve already said, the main objective of experiential learning is to get students to get involved in a learning situation based on an experience. As a result of this, they should be able to critically analyze the process they have to follow and the new elements, actions and concepts that they learn about.
The advantages of experiential learning
- It allows the student to learn through experience and situations that are related to his or her immediate surroundings. In this way, they can obtain an overall vision of what they study.
- It’s valid for different educational levels and ages, as long as the teaching situations are properly designed and developed.
- It allows significant, in-depth, and long-term learning.
- It gives the student a leading role by encouraging participation, collaboration and commitment.
- In addition, it helps students to achieve autonomy in their own learning process, and to accept that mistakes are part of any experiential process.
- It considers the educator to be a key player in the student’s learning process, assuming the role of guide and mediator. The teacher must establish a positive relationship with their students in order to accompany them and attend to each of their particular needs.
- It aims to help a child’s natural development as a consequence of experiential learning in which diverse knowledge and, therefore, subjects come into play. In addition to this, they’ll experience different social, cultural, psychological and personality dimensions and factors.
Learning through experience
Experiential learning should, therefore, be focused on educational activities designed around experiences. That is to say, resorting to real, practical and empirical situations to learn school subjects.
For example, you can use role-play or group dynamics techniques to learn about literature or social skills. You can prioritize direct contact with nature in order to learn biology or physics. You can also use art or musical expression to develop psychomotor skills or creativity.
In addition to this, learning from, or through, experience not only affects the development of a child’s intelligence and senses, but it also develops their emotions.
When people live out an experience, they bring into play sensations and feelings that allow them to develop or connect with different aspects of their personality.
The importance of experiential learning lies in the fact that it uses experiences to facilitate learning. This is where this methodology is so valuable and beneficial.
When we can reflect on the knowledge, skills and abilities that we’ve needed to use in a specific situation, then we’ll really experience what learning is all about.It might interest you...