Gone are the days when it was acceptable for teachers to lecture from the front of a classroom. In today’s modern classroom, rows of desks and passive students are a thing of the past. Education is immersive and two-way, completely transforming the part that is played by the teacher.

COURSE FEATURES: Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students “learn by doing” and by reflecting on the experience. Experiential learning activities can include but are not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, practicums, field exercises, study abroad, undergraduate research, and studio performances.
Well-planned, supervised, and assessed experiential learning programs can stimulate academic inquiry by promoting interdisciplinary learning, civic engagement, career development, cultural awareness, leadership, and other professional and intellectual skills.


Learning that is considered “experiential” contain all the following elements:

  • Reflection, critical analysis, and synthesis.
  • Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results.
  • Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically.
  • A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.

How does it work?

Kolb’s (1984) cycle of learning depicts the experiential learning process (see figure below).  This process includes the integration of:

  • knowledge—the concepts, facts, and information acquired through formal learning and past experience;
  • activity—the application of knowledge to a “real world” setting; and
  • reflection—the analysis and synthesis of knowledge and activity to create new knowledge” (Indiana University, 2006, n.p.).

What does experiential learning look like?

  • Experiential learning has the following elements (Association for Experiential Education, 2007-2014):
  • Experiences are carefully chosen for their learning potential (i.e. whether they provide opportunities for students to practice and deepen emergent skills, encounter novel and unpredictable situations that support new learning, or learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes).
  • Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
  • Reflection on learning during and after one’s experiences is an integral component of the learning process. This reflection leads to analysis, critical thinking, and synthesis (Schon, 1983; Boud, Cohen, & Walker, 1993).
  • Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, and/or physically, which produces a perception that the learning task is authentic.
  • Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others, and learner to the world at large.

During experiential learning, the facilitator’s role is to:

  • Select suitable experiences that meet the criteria above.
  • Pose problems, set boundaries, support learners, provide suitable resources, ensure physical and emotional safety, and facilitate the learning process.
  • Recognize and encourage spontaneous opportunities for learning, engagement with challenging situations, experimentation (that does not jeopardize the wellbeing of others), and discovery of solutions.
  • Help the learner notice the connections between one context and another, between theory and the experience, and encouraging this examination repeatedly.

 WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE COURSE: All Educators, Teachers, Trainers, Home Schooling Parents, and just about anyone with an interest in education and learning and development of people. Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students “learn by doing” and by reflecting on the experience. Experiential learning activities can include but are not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, practicums, field exercises, and studio performances. There is so much more that can add immense value to your role as an educator. This course will help you get a grip on how experiential learning can be incorporated into your sessions.

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