Definition• Experiential learning is "knowledge, skills, and/or abilities attained through o observation, simulation, and/or participation, o provides depth and meaning to learning, o engages the mind and/or body through activity, reflection, and application." (Craig 1997).• Experiential learning can have an extremely broad or narrow definition depending on what might be considered an "experience." http://people.uleth.ca/~steve.craig/whatis.htm
Types: Experiential Learning• Applied Study • Internship• Apprenticeship • Mentoring• Contract Learning • Practicum• Cross-Cultural Study • Problem Based LearningNote: There are more than 50 classifications (types) of ExperientialLearning.
History• Value of experience as a tool for creating knowledge and human development was seen as early as the 4th century B.C.• In the 20th Century, the work of John Dewey brought forth the concept of learning through experience. This has been valued as an important foundation for the formal education setting (Dewey, 1938).• In the 1910‟s, 20‟s, and 30‟s Dewey challenged educators to create educational programs that did not isolate education from experiences. http://people.uleth.ca/~steve.craig/history.htm
History (contd)• In the 60‟s and 70‟s psychologists, sociologists, and educators believed in the value of experience.• Among these are Piaget, Chickering, Tumin, Bloom, Friere, Gardner, and Lewin.• Most recently, David Kolb has been a proponent in support of experiential learning stating that learning is a multi-dimensional process (Kolb 1984). http://people.uleth.ca/~steve.craig/history.htm
Learning Environment• Experiential learning can take place in varied learning environments and have varied learning objectives.• Depending on the o setting of the program, o goals of the facilitator and participants, o the situation in which they are involved, o and the outcomes attained, o an experiential learning program may fit all or some of either employment, educational, personal development, or leisure based scenarios.• Ultimately it provides for affective and behavioral, as well as cognitive learning.
Learning Theory• "Students who use information they are trying to learn, who challenge and grapple with their new knowledge, or who use it to solve problems, tend to learn more effectively than students who passively read, memorize, or merely absorb that to which they have been exposed“ (McKeachie 1963).• "Recent research on memory has shifted in attention from the material to be learned to the mental activities of the learner - learners remember not what they encounter while learning so much as what they do while learning“ (Fergus, Craik, & Tulving 1975).
Learning Theory (contd)According to Dewey (1938) experience is a “Cycle of Trying.”• Cycle of Trying: a problem has to be solved, one gets an idea, tries it out in an arena of applicability, undergoes or experiences the consequences, and confirms or reinterprets theory in the light of those consequences.• This process results in a reconstruction of experience, a re- codifying of habits, and an ongoing active questioning through further experimentation.
Learning Cycles (sequencing)• An experiential learning cycle is a means of representing sequences in experiential learning.• „Experiential learning is often used by providers of training or education to refer to a structured learning sequence which is guided by a cyclical model of experiential learning.• It is often assumed that the stages of a learning cycle are managed by a facilitator, but they can also be self-managed or even unmanaged in the sense that learning from experience is a normal everyday process for most people.• From a trainers perspective, an experiential learning cycle is a 2, 3, 4 or 5 stage learning sequence which encourages continuity from one experience to another.
Greenway‟s Learning ModelAccording to Greenaway (1995), an experiential learning cycle is "a structuredlearning sequence which is guided by a cyclical model."Note: the following model is based off Kolb‟s Learning Model.• Act ===> do something--anything, in fact. Run a meeting, give a presentation, have a difficult conversation.• Reflect ===> look back on your experience and assess the results. Determine what happened, what went well and what didnt.• Conceptualize ===> make sense of your experience. Seek to understand why things turned out as they did. Draw some conclusions and make some hypotheses.• Apply ===> put those hypotheses to the test. Dont simply re-act. Instead, have a conscious plan to do things differently to be more effective. And begin the cycle again.
Kolb‟s Learning ModelAccording to Kolb‟s (1984) Learning Model, learning, change, and growth arebest facilitated by an integrated process that begins with:• Concrete Experience ===> the tangible qualities of the immediate experience and the grasping of knowledge• Reflective Observing ===> a Collection of data through observation and critical thought regarding these experiences.• Abstract Conceptualizing ===> the process of analyzing the data received and an internal process of developing concepts and theory from the experience.• Active Experimenting ===> a modification of behavior and knowledge occurs, while the implications of future actions are considered. New Concepts in new situations
Factors that Shape Learning Styles• David Kolb (1971) developed the Learning Style Inventory (LSI) to assess individual learning styles.• While individuals tested on the LSI show many different patterns of scores, research on the instrument has identified four statistically prevalent learning styles o Diverging, o Assimilating, o Converging, and o Accommodating http://www.edbatista.com/2007/10/experiential.html
Factors: Diverging Learning StylesThe Diverging style‟s dominant learning abilities are o Concrete Experience (CE) and Reflective Observation (RO). o People with this learning style are best at viewing concrete situations from many different points of view. o They prefer working in groups, listening with an open mind, and receiving personalized feed back. http://www.edbatista.com/2007/10/experiential.html
Factors: Assimilating Learning StylesThe Assimilating style‟s dominant learning abilities are o Abstract Conceptualization (AC) and Reflective Observation (RO). o People with this learning style are best at understanding a wide range of information and arranging it into concise, logical form. o Individuals with an Assimilating style are less focused on people and more interested in ideas and abstract concepts.
Factors: Converging Learning StylesThe Converging style‟s dominant learning abilities are o Abstract Conceptualization (AC) and Active Experimentation (AE). o People with this learning style are best at finding practical uses for ideas and theories. o They have the ability to solve problems and make decisions based on finding solutions to questions or problems. o Individuals with a Converging learning style prefer to deal with technical tasks and problems rather than with social issues and interpersonal issues.
Factors: Accommodating Learning StylesThe Accommodating style‟s dominant learning abilities are o Concrete Experience (CE) and Active Experimentation (AE). o People with this learning style have the ability to learn from primarily “hand-on” experience. o They enjoy carrying out plans and involving themselves in new and challenging experiences. http://www.edbatista.com/2007/10/experiential.html
Experiential Learning Models and Styles• A closer examination of the Experiential Learning model suggests that learning requires abilities that are polar opposites,• and the learner must continually choose which set of learning abilities is to be used in specific learning situations.• We resolve the conflict between concrete vs. abstract, and between active vs. reflective in some patterned, characteristic ways.• We call these patterned ways “learning styles.” http://www.edbatista.com/2007/10/experiential.html
Experiential Learning Models and Styles (contd)• In grasping experience some of us perceive new information through experiencing the concrete, tangible, felt qualities of the world, relying on our senses and immersing ourselves in concrete reality.• Others tend to perceive, grasp, or take hold of new information through symbolic representation or abstract conceptualization – thinking about, analyzing, or systematically planning, rather than using sensation as a guide.• Similarly, in transforming or processing experience some of us tend to carefully watch others who are involved in the experience and reflect on what happens, while others choose to jump right in and start doing things.
Conclusion• In the emerging, networked world of information-based economies, learning is becoming more important than productivity in determining a persons 28 or an organizations adaptation, survival, and growth (Kelly, 1999).• Increasingly complex and service-oriented jobs demand flexibility as a requirement for success.• We believe that Experiential Learning Theory helps us to understand learning and flexibility at a deeper and yet more comprehensive level than previously.• It also provides guidance for applications to helping people improve their learning and designing better processes in education and development.• For those with an interest in learning organizations, it provides a theory and assessment methods for the inclusion of the study of individual differences while addressing learning at many levels in organizations and society.
ReferencesCraig, S. (1997). What is experiential learning? Unpublished manuscript University of Lethbridge, UK.Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: The Macmillan Company.Fergus, I., Craik, & Tulving, E. (1975). Depth of processing and the retention of words in episodic memory. Journal ofExperimental Psychology 104(3) 268-294.Greenway, R. (1995). Powerful learning experiences in management learning and development. Doctoral Thesis. University ofLancaster, UK. Centre for the Study of Management Learning.Kelly, K. (1999). New rules for a new economy: 10 radical strategies for a connected world. New York: Viking Press.Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:Prentice-Hall.Kolb, D. A., Rubin, I. M., & McIntyre, J. (Eds., 1971). Organizational psychology: An experiential approach. EnglewoodCliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.McKeachie, W. J. (1963). Research on teaching at the college and university level. In N. L. Gage (Ed.), Handbook ofResearch on Teaching. Chicago, Ill: Rand McNally.