Most people tend to associate learning with the attainment of theoretical knowledge across multiple verticals. While it’s true that studying up on these theories is a viable way of attaining information, it’s far from being the most effective way to do so. That moniker falls to the concept of experiential learning itself.
The best way to illustrate the prominence of experiential learning is to describe the very first instance it makes an appearance in a person’s life – learning how to walk. A baby that falls after taking a few steps processes what went wrong, so that he or she can avoid repeating the same mistake. Through this constant feedback loop of experimentation and reflection, a baby is ultimately able to eliminate any problems and learn how to walk on their own two feet.
This, in a nutshell, is what experiential learning is all about. It’s the process of applying the principles of learning in the real world, analysing the consequences of this application, understanding the elements that can either be rectified or improved, and taking a different approach to the same process with this newfound knowledge. The education system realises the effective nature of experiential learning, integrating it into their curriculum to optimise the method of imparting knowledge.
A notable manner in which experiential learning is used in schools by conducting experiments in a controlled environment. A great example to illustrate this point would be the utilisation of chemistry labs. Instead of having to remember cumbersome formulas and accept how they interact with different elements at face value, students are provided with a first-hand look into the practical applications of the theory that they’ve been studying all this while, validating the information obtained during the learning process and helping them connect with their teachings at a personal level.
Another great of facilitating experiential learning in students is by bringing them to field visits pertaining to a particular domain and letting them witness the internal functionality of a particular place first-hand. Zoos, government agencies, factories, and other such sites are great places for students to visit and peruse how processes are carried out in such environments, helping them develop a practical understanding of the subject at hand.
The concept of role-playing might seem somewhat hard to pull off in a classroom environment, but it’s the manner in which these simulations are carried out that dictate the efficiency of this form of experiential learning. There’s a reason why education simulations like the Model United Nations witness high levels of participation across the country – playing the role of UN delegates in a controlled environment helps provide students with valuable information across multiple domains like diplomacy, world politics, international relations, and the United Nations itself.
Experiential learning is a broad concept with a wide range of applications across multiple verticals. It is an effective way to attain information through a constant cycle of trial and error, allowing students to formulate new processes and optimise existing ones. This cycle, coupled with effective facilitation by the education system, results in a productive feedback loop for the efficient intake of knowledge.