Experiential learning is the process of learning through direct experience. In this process, the learner is in the driver’s seat and takes all the crucial decisions. They actively engage in the process of learning by doing where he/she is accountable for the results. The results of the learning are etched deeply in their minds and form the basis for future learning and experience.
A very important aspect of Experiential learning is the role of the Master (Guru). In many ways, Experiential Learning draws its essence from the ancient Indian tradition of GURUKUL. A Gurukul was essentially a place of learning where students (Shishya) learn by doing various tasks under the supervision of an expert (Guru). Naturally, the students learn more in such an eco-system because the activities they undertake are instrumental in their learning process. The students also learn to keenly observe things around them and analyze with the help of the expert. They learn from their mistakes and are guided by the expert at every juncture. This entire process plays an important role in the overall personality development of the student. And the Guru occupies a center stage in this value system and serves as its facilitator.
It is commonly believed that experiential learning requires no teacher and relates solely to the meaning-making process of individual’s experience. However, for a genuine learning experience to take place there’s a need for certain key elements. According to David Kolb, an American theorist these keys elements are:
- The learner must be willing to be actively involved in the experience.
- The learner must be able to reflect on the experience.
- The learner must possess and use analytical skills to conceptualize the experience.
- The learner must possess decision making and problem-solving skills in order to use the new ideas gained from the experience.
The role of Guru comes handy here as he/she recognizes and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning by playing the crucial role of Facilitator. The Guru being aware of these key elements creates an ideal environment for learning. He makes the meaning-making process more impactful. Much like the Guru of Gurukul system, Expert plays a very critical role in the Experiential learning process.
Watch this video on experiential learning.
KNOLSKAPE, a staunch supporter of this ideology builds experiential products in the field of management education, training and research, and collaborates with experts from the field of management to build and deliver exciting simulations. KNOLSKAPE, a pioneer at providing experiential learning opportunities for learners in Singapore is expanding its operations to India to bring back the “Indian way” of learning.
You may wish to read this interesting relevant blog as well Experiential Learning Vs. Traditional Learning Methodologies
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