Experiential learning is evolving as an effective pedagogy in today’s world. Through a cycle of experimentation, reflection and direct experience, it offers applied learning and inspiration to both the teacher and the student. Although this pedagogy has drawn criticism from various experts, a well-designed experiential learning activity can offer excellent combinations of learning and reflection by ‘doing’.
In 2005, Richard Louv coined the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ in his book Last Child in the Woods, a reference to the decreasing amount of time children spend outdoors. Ever since, parents all over the world have been scrambling to get their kids back on the playground.
In October 2020, Harvard Medical Health published an article citing 6 important reasons why children need to step out. The reasons are compelling enough to urge children to forfeit screen time for green time.
Sun exposure – Parents around the world have undermined the importance of sunshine. Sun exposure plays a significant role to help our bodies produce Vitamin D, which is responsible for several functions in our body. From helping the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses to absorption of calcium for bone development. On an average Adults and kids above 13 years need 15 mcg of Vitamin D daily.
Physical movement – Exercise plays a crucial role in promoting good physical and mental health. It is important for kids to spend at least an hour outside every day for play.
Adventure – Urging children to take some risks and embrace adventure will help them grow into stronger, more confident adults. Parents may let go of their own fears and allow children to explore and take on risks during play.
Creativity and adaptability – Playing outdoors fosters and improves executive function skills. These skills are crucial for success and provide proficiency in planning, self-monitoring, self-control, working memory, time management, adaptable thinking, and creativity. Kids can pick up these skills only through unstructured time.
Social Intelligence - Encouraging children to explore play during unstructured time fosters social intelligence. It helps them to build the ability to communicate and nurture interpersonal relationships. It is not possible for children to learn everything in a structured environment like school. Exposing children to unstructured settings will play a significant role in building responsible adults capable of being empathetic and compassionate towards other people. It will also help them understand the nuances of conversation, social rules and the importance of listening.
Naturalistic Intelligence – In his theory of Multiple Intelligence, Dr Gardner added naturalist intelligence which states that children who display high affinity for nature have strong observation skills in nature. They also display great passion for the environment, animals and plants. These children will easily classify and identify elements of the environment, plants and animals. When children are encouraged to be in nature and explore unstructured time in their natural environment, they will be able to understand their world better. Parents will also be able to identify children with high Naturalistic Intelligence in this environment.
Taking all these studies into consideration and their impact on the overall development of children, Learner Circle has decided to introduce experiential learning into the current curriculum.
What is experiential learning and how is it inbuilt into our curriculum?
Essentially experiential learning involves learning from experience.
This theory was proposed by renowned psychologist David Kolb in the early 1970s. David Kolb was highly influenced by the work of John Dewey, Jean Piaget and Kurt Lewin.
Historically, this concept of learning through experience is ancient. In fact, around 350 BC, Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics
“for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.’
Peter Senge, author of The Fifth Disciple states learning has a strong effect only when learners have the desire to absorb knowledge. Therefore, Experiential learning fosters a love for learning through:
A hands-on approach to learning
It moves away from the traditional method of teacher imparting knowledge from the front of the classroom
Learning becomes an experience beyond the classroom
It is a more involved way of learning
Distinct features of experiential learning It always involves learning through experience It varies in a large degree from rote learning Learners play an active role in the learning process The focus is on the learning process of the individual
Examples of experiential learning
A trip to the zoo. Learning through observation and interaction with the zoo environment
Internships and Job shadowing can offer a significant milestone in experiential learning for a student.
Learning to ride a bike
A family trip in the wild with Learner Circle.
A trek among the mountains or hills
A camp in the woods
Experiential learning at Learner Circle
Learner Circle offers various online courses to foster creativity and critical thinking that aid early age development. Our courses like art, music, singing, dance , abacus, coding and sketching focus on cognitive skills and overall development of the child.
Learner Circle is ready to embark on a different pedagogy to impart learning to both children and adults. We have chosen experiential learning as the latest addition to our curriculum because it is fun and proven to be an impactful method of learning. That is why we have planned our first experiential learning experience for all those who love the hands-on learning approach. To know more about this event, kindly visit our website.