Experiential Learning Theory draws on the work of prominent 20th century thinkers who may experience a central role in their theories of human learning and development. David Kolb synthesized the work of these foundational scholars to develop a holistic model of Experiential Learning theory. Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. This is ELT in a nutshell.
The theory is built on six propositions that are shared by the foundational scholars.
- Learning outcome is not an endpoint, but simply a resting point of an ongoing learning process.
- As we learn new ideas, we also modify and dispose of old ones.
- Effective learners are capable of balancing the opposing modes in the learning cycle.
- Learning never ends. It encompasses all life stages, from childhood to adolescents to middle and old age.
- When learners in the environment interact, both are changed.
- We do not simply respond to the environment, but we recreate it to meet our needs.
Every field requires unique skills and a special learning process. Learning to develop skills and empathic listening is different than learning skills and engineering. Since its emergence in the early 90’s & 70’s, there have been over 90,000 experiential learning citations, and ELT has been used to create countless educational courses in multiple fields. Since 2000, alt research in many fields around the world has more than quadrupled. Experiential Learning Theory is highly interdisciplinary, addressing learning and educational issues in at least 30 academic disciplines.
More and more institutions and educators are experimenting with experiential learning practices beyond higher education. In recent years, K-12 institutions, business organizations, and non-formal organizations have embraced ELT to respond to the learning needs of their clients and constituents through recursive cycles of experience, discussion, feedback, and practice and application. In real life context, learners report increased levels of critical thinking abilities and the capacity to apply and connect theoretical knowledge with real life application.
Like Kurt Lewin said, there is nothing so practical as a good theory, and like David Hunt said, there is nothing so theoretical as a good practice. Let continues to be renewed and enriched through the collective experience of those who apply the theory in their practices around the world.
As the workplace, marketplace and global environmental continue to evolve, experiential Learning Theory is designed to respond to the educational needs of the 21st century.
Importance of Experiential Learning:
we would have realized that plans to have life just by reading it, would we have realized that oxygen is must for combustion just by listening to our teachers? of course not, we wouldn't have realized these without experiencing.
Academic and non-academic concept would etch in child's mind, if it is taught through practical activities and experiments. The experiential learning is not only effective but also makes children to take active part in their learnings instead of teaching a child on watering plants. Let him or her water the plants in garden. Gets more emotionally involved and enjoys too.
The learning becomes part of an activity and continuous support for activity-based learning from the very first day of schooling can you believe small children performing the activity of measurement. Yes, that's true children are introduced to measurements and different units of measures.
Through different activities children use the measuring tape to measure the length and weight of different materials trying out how many 250 ml bottles of water is needed to fill one litre bottle instead of just learning them theoretically. This helps in reinforcing these concepts in children's mind this method is not limited to fewer subjects.
Clay molding is used to introduce the Chinese and Matras in Kannada and Hindi subjects. Environmental science deals with most obvious things of one's life and hands-on learning makes perfect sense to learn this life sciences instead of bringing awareness on reduced plastic usage through classroom sessions. Children are made to prepare paper bags themselves children are learning about windmills by crafting the paper pinwheel.
So, to summarize this method makes children to actively participate in learning than just listening passively and of course makes the learning more enjoyable.