Creating Positive Change in the Classroom
Adopting an Experiential Learning Approach for Increased Performance If you feel like you need to mix things up to keep the syllabus engaging and relevant in modern society then this post is for you. Throughout the text we will discover the long-term benefits of Experiential Learning which offers an innovative approach to traditional classroom teaching. Learning through experience isn’t a new phenomenon, as we can see from the popular models created by respected scholars such as Kolb who have mastered this principle. However, the real-life application of experiential integration into school systems is only just beginning to develop.
What is Experiential Learning?
The premise of Experiential Learning is to learn through the immersive journey of discovery through active experimentation. The associated senses that we encounter in everyday life are thought to help the cognitive processes of memorizing information as we associate the environment with the learned facts. In the subject of Experiential Learning, David Kolb’s interpretation of the topic is widely referenced to explain in adult developmental terms, the cycle that is performed in this educational pathway. His Experiential Learning Cycle outlines four distinct phases to segment the complex idea of learning in the moment.
It’s All Changing
As an adult, if you stop to ponder your most memorable lessons in life, they most probably didn’t happen in a standardized classroom. The association of a dramatic events or impacts, combined with rich cultured environment- encourages crystal clear recollection of learned information in this time. In Western culture, this is brought to fruition by the adoption of work based learning modules where a student experiences a simulated version of working within the relevant industry of their study. The introduction of elective modules or additional years of study in the traditional degree structure has been introduced to give the option for international study. By studying abroad, the student should learn additional social and cultural skill.
But, what is available for younger age groups at elementary level?
Outdoor Learning It is now widely reported that learning in the wilderness can have profound mental health benefits for young children such as an increase in concentration and improved academic performance. Combining recreation with science and geography can help confidence and awareness as students physically experience the topic. When Outdoor Learning is used effectively, it is carefully integrated into classroom lessons for a practical session that doesn’t detract from the syllabus provided. Advancing educational research outlines the variance in different types of learners. We have developed to understand that whilst some children are inclined to study in the traditional sense, others thrive in a group setting to take natural project leader roles. The diversity of this type of experiential learning ensures that all young children have an equal chance to excel. Those less suited to the conventional classroom may never have shown their problem solving or communication abilities without the open mindedness of various elementary schools across the globe.
Associative Learning is another common educational principle that has been around for long enough but most of the time is overlooked. The adoption of Associative Learning is twofold. Teachers can use this method to reinforce positive behavior through reward and praise. This is a form of classical conditioning which is an inherent process where a responsive cue is continually practiced. Alternatively, implementing association within the teaching of core topics such as language can greatly speed up the competency of foreign subjects. This method is specifically used in young children as the use of song or images to memorize words can introduce youngsters into the educational system in a slow, steady manner.