One of the most important paradigms in the realm of educational psychology, experiential learning is described as learning by doing. The technique of experiential learning gives learners hands-on experience, entailing self-assessment. The importance of experiential learning can be understood from the fact that everything we theoretically learn has to be applied practically to real-life scenarios. And this is not the only factor that makes experiential learning crucial in the current education scenario, it comes with a number of impressive benefits to learners as well. Here are the fundamentals and benefits that explain the importance of experiential learning.
Fundamentals of Experiential Learning
Defined as the process of learning through experience, experiential learning is one of the most effective ways of learning. The concept of experiential learning is not new as it can be traced back to ancient times. In the quote below, Aristotle stated the importance of experiential learning.
The fundamentals of experiential learning are simple, one cannot learn things until he does it on his own. You can watch dozens of cookery videos on television or online, but you won’t learn to cook until you prepare a dish by yourself. Rote learning may boost your memory and make you remember things, but applying the same knowledge in real life is a different thing altogether. That is where experiential learning comes into play. It makes you ready for the real world with the help of multiple experiences.
How does an Experiential Environment Look Like?
Now that you are aware of the importance of experiential learning, the question is how does an experiential learning environment look like? The following pointers elucidate the characteristics of how an experiential environment should be.
· A Combination of Theory and Experiment: Just because experiential learning is concerned with learning by doing, it doesn’t mean that theoretical learning will be ignored. A combination of both will lead to brilliant outcomes.
· Emotional Connect is Important: The whole concept of experiential learning revolved around making the learners fully engage in the process. This can only be done when they are emotionally connected and pay complete attention to what is being taught.
· Better Relationships for Better Results: Be it a teacher-student relationship, student-student relationship, or students’ relationship with the learning environment, better relationships will definitely lead to better results.
· Because Excessive Judgement can be Detrimental: The idea is to create an environment where students can learn at their own pace. Hence, they shouldn’t be judged when they fail. Doing so can break their confidence and give rise to unfavourable outcomes.
· Importance of Reflection: When students learn by doing, it should actually reflect through outcomes. Students should understand the concepts and subject matters and perform well at the tests.
Benefits of Experiential Learning
When experiential learning is applied in classrooms, positive results become obvious. Below are some of the most interesting benefits of experiential learning.
Introduction to the Real World
Theoretical knowledge helps in making you familiar with the concepts of various topics but experiential learning is important to make you understand how things happen in the real world. Hence, experiential learning introduces you to the real world and prepares you for many important situations and challenges.
Mistakes Become Lessons
While you apply your theoretical knowledge in an experiment, you might not succeed in the very first attempt. But yes, you may start getting a grip on it in the next attempts you make. Most importantly, the failed attempts make you ready and more attentive for your next endeavours. Hence, experiential helps you learn from your own mistakes.
Road to Creativity
Since you learn by practicing and experimenting on your own, you find out what works and what doesn’t. Hence, experiential learning opens the road to creativity. And when the first method doesn’t work out, you may try to find some other way or alternative. This increases brain activity and boosts creativity.
It’s scientifically proven that when we learn practically, the neural networks in our brain are strengthened. This, in turn, makes us smarter. Moreover, practicing a certain activity involves important 21st Century skills such as decision-making and problem-solving. As students become more engaged in the process, learning expedites and memory retention improves.
Learning becomes interesting and fun
Engagement plays an important role, no matter which activity it is. The same goes for learning when students are engaged in the process, they’ll understand things better and develop interest. Once students find it interesting, learning outcomes will automatically improve. This will positively affect their attitudes towards learning as well.
Helps in Making Career Decisions
Be it through modern technologies like augmented reality or virtual reality, experiential learning helps students experience different working conditions and makes them aware of the challenges faced in a particular profession. By understanding the same, students can make career decisions accordingly.
The importance of experiential learning cannot be overlooked as it brings tremendous benefits. Applying it can be a little challenging at the beginning, but things will get easier gradually.