Experiential Learning: Learning by doing

Experiential learning is ‘learning from experience’ or ‘learning by doing’. Experiential learning first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking. As the New Education policy 2022, proposes the shift from ‘what to learn’ to ‘how to learn’, this pedagogical approach allows the same. There are two goals in the experiential learning process. One is to learn the specifics of a particular subject, and the other is to learn about one’s own learning process. Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving process, assuming responsibility, being creative, constructing meaning, and is challenged to take initiative and make decisions.

There are four stages in experiential learning cycle:

Concrete Experience

Concrete experience abilities are those which allow a learner to engage openly and without bias in experiences. Without these, their interpretation risks being limited and skewed by bias. As the learner participates in an activity, they gain a concrete experience.

Reflective Observation

Reflecting on an activity and its outcomes is a vital part of learning, and a learner needs to be able to reflect from multiple perspectives. Learners crystallize their understanding of an activity by engaging in reflective observation.

Abstract Conceptualization

These abilities allow learners to integrate their observations and reflections into new theories, which act as the basis for the next set of abilities.

Activities like Group discussion and reflection allows a participant to form abstract conceptualizations about an activity.

Active Experimentation

Through Active Experimentation, learners test the theories arrived at through the previous abilities. With these four abilities working in tandem, learners develop their understanding and enshrine their realizations and knowledge.