The Importance of Experiential Learning

Just hearing the term — experiential learning — tells us a lot. Clearly, it’s about learning through an experience of the topic under study. A deeper dive, however, reveals that experiential learning is more than just “learning by doing.”  It’s more like trying it on until you find what fits.

The goal of experiential learning is to create a “real world” interaction with the subject that facilitates sustained thoughtfulness about the subject. The learner, rather than memorizing a series of steps, relies instead on recalling what he or she did, why he or she did it, what it felt like to do it, and, given the opportunity, how he or she would do it again.

Because there is typically more than one solution to every problem, numerous paths to the same destination, and new stimuli or circumstances each time a task is undertaken, there are lessons learned with each experience. Each lesson offers an opportunity for creative thinking and action. It is this creative spark that ignites learning in ways that less active or interactive learning methodologies cannot.

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