To some degree, experiential learning is self-explanatory; it’s learning that is based on students being directly involved in a learning experience rather than their being recipients of ready-made content in the form of lectures. This kind of experiential learning is probably what Benjamin Franklin had in mind in the eighteenth century when he wrote, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I will learn.”
The notion of experiential learning was explored further in the twentieth century by educational psychologists such as John Dewey, Carl Rogers, and David Kolb. Kolb asserted that “Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience,”
Represented as a continuous process, Kolb’s cycle looks like this:
Proponents of experiential learning say that it helps to motivate learners because it involves them more deeply and extensively in the learning process: rather than being passive recipients of a “product” that the instructor is delivering, they actively engage with the content, the instructor, their peers, and themselves in an ongoing process of meaningful discovery. As David Moore has asserted, experiential learning “provides opportunities for the students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it in a real world setting where they grapple with real-world problems, discover and test solutions, and interact with others.”
Additionally, experiential learning can result in “deeper” learning which means, among other things, that students are better able to transfer what they have learned in one context to another context. As a result, concerns about not covering as much content are mitigated: an instructor who implements an experiential learning approach might end up covering only nine course units rather than ten, but the students will likely be able to apprehend the tenth unit on their own because of their deeper understanding of the other units.
Experience plus reflection equals learning. – John Dewey
Outdoor Education/Challenge course:
Children with emotional difficulties have a place to de-stress. By providing a more holistic approach to learning, teachers and staff are able to tailor activities to fit the individual needs of each student. The challenge course equipment is a multi-generational outdoor fitness solution with the primary objective of helping to address fine and gross motor function deficiencies by encouraging super-fun, active, physical participation. The courses are designed to provide a diverse range of movement between obstacles in a personal race with time. Students will not only observe personal health benefits while enhancing their cognitive development, but, with team participation, they will enhance social skills.