Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as learning through reflection on doing[1]. It is distinct from rote or didactic learning, in which the learner plays a comparatively passive role.[2]

Experiential learning is NOT

  • A new term: Around 350 BC, Aristotle wrote in the Nichomachean Ethics "for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”. In the 1970s, David A. Kolb introduced the modern theory of experiential learning.
  • A substitutes of acquisition of knowledge from reading or lectures
  • Always requiring an instructor to teach
But Experiential learning IS

  • Much longer lasting benefit to people in facing the ever changing world and information explosion.
  • More effective with skillful guidance by successful facilitators using inquiry based approach
  • Still an underutilized approach, even in the Western education settings, due to the high standards required of the facilitators and resources constraint to support this education approach

EDGE Education advocates and specializes the application of experiential learning, to address the underserved needs by proactive learners, and prepare students to build their own competitive edges vs. others.

Experiential learning vs. Academic learning

  • Academic Learning is the process of acquiring information through the study of a subject without the necessity for direct experience
  • While the dimensions of experiential learning are analysis, initiative, and immersion, the dimensions of academic learning are constructive learning and reproductive learning
  • Though both methods aim at instilling new knowledge in the learner, academic learning does so through more abstract, classroom-based techniques, whereas experiential learning actively involves the learner in a concrete experience.

[1] Felicia, Patrick (2011). Handbook of Research on Improving Learning and Motivation. p. 1003. ISBN 1609604962.
[2] Beard, Colin (2010). The Experiential Learning Toolkit: Blending Practice with Concepts. p. 20. ISBN 9780749459345.