Experiential learning is an active process, one “through which individuals construct knowledge, acquire skills and enhance values from direct experience”.
The primary objective of experiential learning is to instill within the individual learner a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Thereby, one way for learners to become more actively involved is for educators to design the module that requires student participation.
This begins by invoking enthusiasm amongst the teachers which would promote students’ intrinsic motivation to learn.
In an experiential learning environment, students work in teams to perform a real task and understand the output of their efforts. The exercise raises a number of provocative issues regarding many concepts and specifically occurs in a spirited, enlivened class session.
The 4-Stage Experiential Learning Cycle imparts-
* Experiencing: A structured experience in which individuals participate in a specific activity so as to have involvement of personal and cognitive aspects of a person. The same fact has been emphasized in the media time and again.
* Reflecting: A need exists to integrate the new experience with past experiences through the process of reflection which is instilled with self-initiation: a sense of discovery which comes from within.
* Generalizing: this stage calls for individuals to search for patterns based on the specific experience to explore whether emotions, thoughts, behaviors or observations occur with some regularity. This understanding is then applied to other situations.
* Applying: In this stage, individuals are encouraged to plan ways to put into action the generalizations (patterns) that they identified in the previous stage. This directly activates the “learners’ self-concept,” calling upon the learner to become more self-directed in the learning process.
Throughout the experiential learning process, learners are actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative and constructing meaning.
Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, and/or physically. This involvement helps produce a perception that the learning task is authentic.
Thus, when experiential learning takes place, its meaning to the learner becomes incorporated into the total experience which “makes a difference in the behavior, the attitudes, perhaps even the personality of the learner.”
Experiential learning holds the ability to heighten the sense of democracy by welcoming participation as a construct for evoking the reality of a community of practice.