Is Experiential Learning possible in today’s class rooms?

It is often a question- how much experiential learning is possible in today’s class rooms? Experiential learning as defined by David Kolb, is experiencing, reflecting, improvising and repeating experience till the time learning is complete. For example, learning biking skills takes the courage to try it, reflect on what went wrong, improve the technique and repeat it again. The process goes on till the time one is able to bike independently. In simple terms, experiencing what one wants to learn makes one learn with understanding and retain the knowledge for long.

There was a time when only few people opted for learning, while most others would be busy finding a lively hood. That was the age of Gurukul where few students stayed with a guru over a period of many years to learn. Today, the situation has changed to thousands of schools producing large number of scholars every year. Getting all of them to learn in experiential way is nearly impossible.

Many schools have field trips and activity based learning sessions to bring in an element of experiential learning. Visiting a zoo to learn about animals, travelling to different places of interest, visiting a museum, an adventure trip and other outbound activities can bring in real life experiences and learning. This is possible if schools cater to limited number of students with good student to teacher ratio which is not the case in most schools.

The advent of technology based learning has brought in some reprieve as many experiences can be virtually understood by watching videos or by doing interactivities on a computer screen. STEM education has brought in smaller activity objects in to the class room which can improve learning in science and technology. NumberNagar has brought in experiential learning into class rooms to learn Mathematics in an engaging and enjoyable way.

While it is still a long way to go before real experiential learning can be brought to every student, the availability of activity based learning tools and experiential learning spaces bring in much reprieve to schools and students to make learning contextual, engaging and enjoyable.

Shaji Chacko, Head – Implementation,BRAINSTARS

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