Experiential Learning and Education - Basics
By Andrew Loh
Thousands of years back, the great Greek Philosopher Aristotle said,
"The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing
them." In a way, he was so pragmatic and truthful in saying that you
can learn something only by doing them. In fact, learning is an
intricate process of accumulating knowledge and skills. However,
learned knowledge can become useful only when you put them into
actual practice. In other words, you can learn something only with
prior experience. Experience is the most important key that will
empower you with the learning power. Experience gains importance and
criticality among younger children and toddlers. They can learn only
by gaining experience by doing certain things.
In this regard, the term experience is like a catalyst that boosts
learning process in young children. In a typical English dictionary,
the word experience has a number of meanings:
Experience – "practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from
direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular
In other words, experience refers to the nature of events your
children have undergone in the past. Experience is what is happening
to your children in their life and all the time. Experience occurs
during their lifetime and it is a continuous process. In its present
tense, experience tells us about the subjective nature of your
children's current existence. On the other hand, in its past tense,
the word experience means an accumulated repository of experiences
gained over time.
A toddler accumulates experience of walking by actually walking
over a period.
A young boy can say that fire is dangerous for the him only after
experiencing the immense pain of touching the fire.
A young girl will gain experience of using a skipping rope only
after practicing it for some time.
Of late, academic experts and educational counselors are realizing
the importance of learning through experience by studying the effect
of experience of the quality of learning. The latest buzzword that
almost every parent hears today is the principle of Experiential
Learning. It seems more educational experts are advocating the
importance of experience in education.
What is experiential learning?
In essence, experiential learning has two basic meanings to it. In
the first version, your children will learn something all by
themselves without the help or assistance of their parents or
teachers. In the other sense, they will learn something with help of
basic concepts of experiential education. In the second meaning,
your children will learn through course and teaching programs
designed, structured and delivered by their classroom teachers.
Learning by you is natural and everyone in this world learns all by
himself or herself. Nature helps and assists everyone with an
ability to gain experience by doing something. In other words, an
education occurs with your direct participation in the events that
occurred in the past. It is an education that your children acquires
by reflecting on experiences gained every day. It is also very
informal and occurs as a natural event in the life of your children.
On the other hand, modified and well-structured course and classroom
programs will also help your children learn by accumulating good
experiences. To make this a reality, your children will need to the
help of classroom teachers. In other words, a classroom teacher will
organize and initiate a number of programs and course curriculum
that will help your children learn something that is actually
beneficial and advantageous.
In a typical classroom setting, your children will become actively
involved in the learning process than in a traditional and universal
type of classroom education. Some of the examples of experiential
education are as follows:
Learning about football in the classroom involves knowing about
the game, players, rules, playing and winning process all through
the books and theory. However, your children can learn by actually
playing the game of football in a football field. Here, the child
will apply the theory of football in a football field and gain
practical experience by playing with other children.
It is always advantageous and beneficial to learn about animals
and birds by visiting a zoo or a park and actually seeing them with
your own eyes.
Note: Experience in a classroom is providing an opportunity for the
students to gain practical experience by combining the classroom
Most of our classrooms depend on a teaching by using conventional
textbooks. However, this approach may not help your children in
their future because the training that they get in their classroom
is just scholastic and academic. To make your children reach success
in their life, you may need to teach them advantages of using the
classroom lessons in a practical manner and gain invaluable
experience of actually applying the lessons in practice. Continue to read
Experiential Learning and Education - Practical Methods