The Role of Experiential Learning in a Kid’s Life
The Role of Experiential Learning in a Kid’s Life
‘’Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’’ – Benjamin Franklin.
Experiential learning means ”learning by doing”. Its purpose is to make people learn through experiencing things rather than just hearing about them. The idea of experiential learning is not new, but its refined modern framework was introduced recently in 1984 by David Kolb.
Research is being conducted to find new and improved ways of learning and find out what works best for kids. The experiential learning framework is the outcome of such efforts and is one of the most effective methods for children’s learning. The awareness about kids’ learning has increased, and parents now realize that children’s education is much more than just memory and exams. Unfortunately, many schools are still stuck in traditional ways of learning, and our institutes and teachers need a change of perspective.
Why is experiential learning important?
Experiential learning is significant in a child’s brain development and learning. When children have curiosity and a desire to learn, they understand things better, and their learning is lifelong. They do not just store information in their minds to pass the exams. Fun learning is a highly effective method. When children are scolded, they get scared, and their productivity declines. When they are forced to learn, their potential is wasted. As long as they perceive learning as a burden, they can never fully grasp the concepts and be creative.
Examples of experiential learning :
Swimming: If you teach a child in the classroom how to swim, no matter how well you explain it, no amount of step-by-step guide will be useful if they do not actually go to a swimming pool and experience the process. Teachers and books can never be a replacement for experience. The same applies to learning to ride a bike or cook a dish etc.
Going to the zoo: Children are fascinated by animals. They see their pictures in books and learn about them from their parents and teachers, but seeing animals up close is a surreal experience for them. Taking them to a zoo or a safari will be helpful for children’s learning because they will be able to see the pictures in their minds become real.
Gardening: Children also get fascinated by plants. While it helps to draw them in the classroom and see their pictures in textbooks, going out in a garden to observe the varieties of flowers and leaves brings another kind of joy. They should also be encouraged to plant a tree, and learning about concepts like photosynthesis and the greenhouse effect will make much more sense to them once they are out in nature.
Computers: The world is experiencing incredible technological advancements, and computers are an integral part of our lives now. Children need to learn about technology, but if they only learn about the parts of computers and how they work in a textbook, they will not be able to understand its use. Kids have to use the computer and experience it for themselves if we wish them to learn their operations.
Elements of experiential learning:
Here are the main elements of experiential learning
Willingness to engage: Children must be willing to actively participate and engage in the activity.
Reflect: After engaging in the activity, it is important to reflect upon the experience and review the performed activity.
Conceptualize: After engaging and reflecting, the child must use his/her skills to conceptualize the experience.
Experimentation: The last step is to test the new ideas gained through the experience. The child must apply his/her findings in real life to see how accurate they are and how well they work.
Benefits of experiential learning:
Experiential learning plays a significant role in kids’ education and learning.
Here are a few benefits of this mode of learning :
Creativity: Experiencing things, reflecting upon them, and testing out ideas, helps children bring creativity and innovation. When children have the freedom to learn, their creative potential reaches its peak, and we see them bring innovation with their problem-solving skills.
Confidence: When children become enriched with experiences, their confidence increases. They become familiar with many ideas, develop a habit of problem-solving and try to polish their skills. These are essential life skills and play a significant role in the personality development of children.
Deeper understanding: Learning through experience provides children with a deep and profound understanding of the concepts. When they observe closely and do it themselves, their findings become a part of their long-term memory.
Real-world experience: Experiential learning allows children to connect what they read in textbooks and what they see in the real world. Applying their newly found ideas makes them better equipped to face the real world.
How to incorporate experiential learning in a classroom?
Here are some ways to incorporate experiential learning in the classroom :
Activities: Organize activities in the classroom and encourage all the kids to participate. Let them make crafts, solve puzzles, do clay modeling, etc.
Play: Children learn a lot while they play. Playtime allows them to learn vital life skills like perseverance, leadership, and teamwork.
Field trips: Organize field trips for children. Take them out on picnics. Let them observe nature. If they have cameras, engage them in photography. Make them visit museums and historical buildings to open their minds and strengthen their learning.
Volunteer: Allowing kids to volunteer will help them grow emotionally and develop their social skills. It will make them more empathetic and responsible and increase their community awareness.
Science labs: Schools must have science labs where the children can perform experiments. Engage children in performing age-appropriate scientific experiments under the supervision of a teacher.
Children can forget what the teachers say in the classroom, and what they read in their books, but they do not forget when they actively engage themselves in activities to learn from their experiences. Experiential learning will facilitate children to become the best kind of scientists, IT experts, photographers, artists, entrepreneurs, and a lot more.