Riti Kapoor

Experiential Learning

If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we could not.  – Emerson M. Pugh

The complexity of the human brain is something humankind has never been able to completely fathom. A lot of research has been in understanding the way our brain understands things and what could the best way be. One of the techniques that has proved to be incredibly impactful is experiential learning. It is defined as ‘learning through reflection of doing’. An instance of experiential learning is visiting a planetarium to learn about space, performing titrations to learn about them, visiting a zoo to learn about animals.

David Kolb, an American educator, has developed a theory called Experiential Learning Theory (ELT). His way of learning and teaching, which he called Learning Style Inventory (LSI), focuses on concrete learning experiences. According to ELT, there are four stages of experiential learning as explained below:

  1. Concept learning: Concept learning is when a learner experiences something new or looks at an older experience with a new perspective.
  2. Reflective observation: Reflective observation is when the learner reflects or processes the experience. Understanding the experience happens at this stage.
  3. Abstract conceptualization: Abstract conceptualization is when the learner forms ideas and adjusts their thinking process according to the experience.
  4. Active experimentation: This is when the learner tries to apply the ideas formed during abstract conceptualization to the world around them.

The theory focuses on the fact that every learner has a different way of grasping and adapting things. The Experiential Learning Theory has four learning styles as follows.

  1. Diverging: This learning style is of people who have a wide range of imagination. People who like to watch instead of do things themselves are divergent learners.
  2. Assimilating: In this style, learners prefer to get clear information on a particular topic. They prefer abstracts and concepts for learning. Analytical models are something which helps in learning through assimilation.
  3. Converging: Converging learners are the problem solvers. They tend to apply what they observe and learn. All the experimental minds are learners who learn through converging.
  4. Accommodating: Learners who enjoy challenges and applying their mind to solve several problems have the accommodating style of learning. They rely heavily on their intuition while solving a problem and believe in practicality.

But why should someone prefer experiential learning? Let’s look at some of its benefits.

  • Application of knowledge: Experiential Learning Theory provides an opportunity for the learners to apply the knowledge acquired immediately for real world problems. This immediate use of knowledge leaves a strong mark of remembrance on the human mind and helps the learners to store the information better.
  • Motivation and curiosity: Experiential learning inculcates curiosity regarding the subject or concept in the minds of learners. This curiosity acts as the best motivation for learners to learn and absorb information.
  • Teamwork: Working in teams is one of the most important skills a person can have and experiential learning prepares a young learner for the real world.
  • Opportunity to think: With experiential learning, a learner is presented with a chance to think and reflect on certain things. This allows the learner to look at a situation from different perspectives.
  • Preparation for the real world: Experiential learning uses situations which are very similar to real world problems and hence it molds the learner’s mind to think of a solution.

Experiential learning theory is indeed an effective way of teaching and learning. It helps with the development of the human brain at a very young age. An entire generation educated through experiential learning can create an innovative, experimental, and bright community and fill the world with exceptional ideas and concepts.

There you have it,Experiential Learning Theory all in one article. Stay tuned for more blogs like these. My name is Riti Kapoor Chopra, and I’m a Mumbai-based corporate trainer, speaker, and educator. For enquiries, contact me on 9819648070 or write to me at riti@ritikapoorchopra.com

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