The benefits of experiential learning for students’ academic and personal growth are well acknowledged. It involves acquiring knowledge via first-hand experiences, often outside of the traditional educational environment, when students take an active role in dealing with circumstances, tasks, or challenges from the real world.
Experiential learning goes beyond rote memorization and gives students the ability to interact meaningfully and practically with their education. These advantages include development in one’s personal life, academic accomplishment, and future professional success.
Experiential learning has proven to offer several advantages throughout the years that help in students’ growth.
Concepts are effortless for students to understand
It often seems challenging for students to fully absorb concepts that don’t apply to the „real world.” Students have the opportunity to apply knowledge and concepts in real-world situations while playing an active part through experiential learning. The concepts become more tangible to pupils as they interact with the information at hand.
The environment is outstanding for students to be more creative
Using experiential learning is one of the most exquisite strategies to teach creative problem-solving. Students who come across real-world content discover that there are many ways of handling problems, and they are urged to consider their own distinctive approach to practical work.
Students are given the chance to reflect again
Students activate more parts of their brains and form deeper connections to the subject when they combine tangible experiences with abstract concepts and then reflect on the outcomes. Students are additionally encouraged to reflect on how their behaviour could differ from those of others and how they might affect the situation at hand. They have a greater awareness of the best way to use the concepts acquired in various contexts as a consequence of this process.
Students’ mistakes are transformed into instructive experiences
Students can discover that certain approaches are more successful than others as they work on practical assignments. They dismiss the ineffective methods, but the act of testing something out and then giving it up—often labelled as a „mistake”—becomes an essential phase in the learning process. Students also learn to be mindful of their errors and not to be frightened of making them.
Students get more enthusiastic about learning
One of the simplest ways to ensure that students experience experiential learning is through classroom instruction by adding project-based learning and field trips into the curriculum. Taking part in scientific programmes at planetariums or painting classes at local galleries are two options.
Undoubtedly, an overseas school trip provides a wealth of experience learning opportunities. Students nowadays may take advantage of an opportunity known as Erasmus mobilities for free thanks to the European funding that are available. Students from all European nations have the opportunity to venture outside their comfort zone and experience a whole new culture through Erasmus+ school programmes that take them away from their friends, families, and familiar surroundings. Students can engage in courses and educational activities within the context of an Erasmus+ project, get a taste of what it’s like to be a student in another EU country, and occasionally enjoy living with a host family. These experiences broaden students’ perspectives and widen their understanding of the world, making them better citizens.
Project-based learning (PBL), a dynamic technique created to involve students in the process of examining issues from real life, can also be used when it comes to experiential learning. It encourages students to experience learning by doing and by finding. Students can bridge the gap between academic knowledge and hands-on experience by addressing real-life problems.
PBL can also provide students with an excellent opportunity to build their core competencies through cross-curricular educational travel. PBL’s foundation is built by students’ determination to use various skills outside the walls of a classroom.
Asking participants for feedback on the activities is especially important when using experiential learning and/or PBL because it gives event organisers an insight into what participants think and feel, allowing them to make any necessary adjustments in a timely manner to ensure that an activity’s objectives are successfully met.
As a participant in PBL projects, I can advocate for the effectiveness of PBL and experiential learning as fantastic approaches for attaining project goals and for enabling students to assume ownership of their own learning. Practically speaking, the creative aspects of the activities promoted collaboration and teamwork, which in turn helped students build empathy and social inclusion.
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Kolb, D.A., Experiential learning, experiences as the source of learning and development, Second Edition, Pearson Education, Inc., 2015
Wallerstein, N., Who are the students? Language and culture in conflict. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1983