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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,
Learning that is considered “experiential” contain all the following elements:
1. Reflection, critical analysis and synthesis.
2. Opportunities for students to take initiative, make decisions, and be accountable for the results.
3. Opportunities for students to engage intellectually, creatively, emotionally, socially, or physically.
4. A designed learning experience that includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes, and successes.
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The Experiential Learning Style
Learning styles are different than other typologies that describe inherent traits. Learning styles are habits or steady states of learning and living involving a preference on some modes of
learning and under utilization of others.
Learning styles also provide framework for understanding others whose approaches are different from yours. Being aware of your own
learning style tendencies and knowing the preferred learning styles of those with whom you interact help foster productive interactions, teamwork and relationships.
Simple Examples of Experiential Learning Include:
• Doing experiments in chemistry class.
• Learning about food by growing it in a garden.
• Learning to drive by taking driving lessons.
• Learning about animals by going on a safari.
• Becoming an apprentice to learn carpentry
What are the Characteristics of Experiential Learning?
There are four major characteristics that need to be applied for a type of learning to qualify as experiential. Those characteristics are:
• Concrete experience
• Reflective observation
• Abstract concepts
• Active experimentation
What is Experiential Learning and Why is it Important?
When students participate in experiential education opportunities, they gain:
• A better understanding of course material
• A broader view of the world and an appreciation of community
• Insight into their own skills, interests, passions, and values
• Opportunities to collaborate with diverse organizations and people
• Positive professional practices and skill sets
• The gratification of assisting in meeting community needs
• Self-confidence and leadership skills
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