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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Experiential Learning and Education - Practical Methods

By Andrew Loh

Experiential learning is an intuitive method of teaching your children to provide them with an opportunity to gain invaluable experience. In fact, your children can gain skills, knowledge and experience only in the open, under the sun, and not in a closet! Experiential education and learning is very special elusive and momentous. Experts call this education a jewel among all other teaching methods. Experiential education in a school can come in many patterns and types.

It is very easy to adapt this superb learning system across a range of topics and medium. For example, you can use this method for the following learning systems:

  • Outdoor education,

  • Classroom learning, and

  • Group-based learning projects

Experiential education is beneficial to your children in many ways like:

  • It relies on theory of gaining experience.

  • It is a highly organized approach where your children will learn to be professional and productive.

  • This system allows your children to learn lessons by constructing the knowledge and skills obtained in the classroom.

  • With this system of education, your children will be using an age old method that comes so naturally to them.

  • Experiential education model helps your children to develop leadership and management skills.

  • Experiential education is all about learning by actually doing something.

  • With this system, your children can increase the power of understanding and comprehension.

  • Experiential education and learning is a progressive method that allows your children to develop their brain in a phased manner.

  • With this system, your children make a positive difference to their life.

  • Experiential learning assists you children to gel academics and experience and the lessons learned will be permanent and useful.

  • Your children can easily integrate the classroom lessons with their life.

  • With experiential teaching, your children can assess their own abilities and strengths and later compare them with all weaknesses.

  • Your children will have an hands-on type of education that is better than a traditional classroom.

  • Your children will also relate the experiences gained with their life events.

  • Your children can do well in a group because the experiences gained will provide them an undeniable edge.

  • With this learning process, your children will have a powerful tool in their hand

Now, the big question is how you can teach experiential learning techniques to your children. Some parents may think that this is a very difficult method and that it needs the help and assistance of classroom teachers. Yes, largely, classroom teachers will play a large role in empowering your children with useful and beneficial experiences. However, you can try experiential methods by yourself and apply them at your home. In general, experiential method of learning relies on three major concepts as mentioned below. Educational experts recommend using a 3-stage model while teaching experiential learning to your children. This 3-stage method is simple and straightforward for any parent to use and follow.

3-Stage Experiential learning model

Here, you can consider three basic steps like:

  • Planning stage

  • Doing stage and

  • Reviewing stage

Here are the basic steps explained in details:

Step 1: First, you will need to sit down with your children and plan something to do in practice. You can suggest some examples and invite your children to provide their inputs. Remember that learning is always a two-way and interactive process where you will need to involve your children. Write down the inputs provided by your children and add yours as well. Once you collate all the inputs decide on the topic or subject that, your children will learn and master.

Example: Let us say that you will sit down and decide planting a few seedlings in your backyard garden. Your children will already know how to plant them in the garden after reading some books or listening to their botany class teacher.

Step 2: Once you get ready with all the required materials, you will need to guide your children in planting the seedlings in the garden by using the materials and tools. Allow your children to plant the seedlings with their own efforts and never interfere with their work. If possible, give them practical suggestions and inputs. Let your children use the theoretical knowledge in the actual field. Guide them through the process of planting.

Example: Here, your children will apply the theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom under practical conditions and in an actual garden. By planting seedlings, your children will apply the knowledge to gain skill and experience of planting the seedlings under real life situations. The major outcome of this approach is that your children will feel very proud and gain immense confidence and positive attitude.

Step 3: Once, you help them plant and after they finish their work, you will need to sit down with them review the entire process of planting right from the start to finish. Here, you can help them take down notes and compare them with the actual methods suggested in the classroom. This approach is very important because, you can help your children help solidify and crystallize their ideas, suggestions and skills into a definite life experience.

Example: Reviewing will allow your children to solidify their experiences and skills and plan their way to tackle the next round of experiences. This approach will also help them bring about a sense of perfectness in their learning approach.

Treat everything as pure fun! Make it more interesting and cajoling. You are the dearest parent who can understand your children better than anyone else. You can find plenty of experiential games and puzzles on the internet. There are hundreds of them and you can choose the ones that you feel are good for your children. Use them frequently and within the confines of your home. However, remember that you will need to review each round of learning to make the experience of learning more productive and fruitful.

Featured Resource

Early Childhood Education: Developmental Experiential Learning
By Barbara D. Day

This comprehensive introduction to early childhood education for 4-to 8- year-olds offers comprehensive, wide-ranging treatment of developmentally appropriate learning centers. Major emphasis throughout the coverage is on organizing and managing a developmentally appropriate environment that works for all young children, including those with special needs.

Curriculum organizational components and classroom management strategies are examined; along with rationale, objectives, materials, activities, and experiences for all curriculum areas. This edition features clearly written chapter introductions that cite works by noted authorities to provide a philosophical and theoretical foundation for suggested methods.


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