Experiential learning is a method of educating through first- hand experience, according to this theory learning is a process where knowledge is transferred through experience. Experiential learning is often used synonymously with the term "experiential education", but while experiential education is a broader philosophy of education, experiential learning considers the individual learning process. As such, compared to experiential education, experiential learning is concerned with more concrete issues related to the learner and the learning context.
Experiential Learning is great for adults as:
Adults are self-directed and motivated.
Adults bring life experiences and knowledge to learning experiences.
Adults are purpose oriented.
Adults look for relevance.
Adults look for logic and practicality.
Adults like to be respected.
Experiential learning is s self empowering for the learner, as they are suddenly aware of their untapped capabilities. This methodology brings to the table a wide spread of skills unknown to the learner themselves. Due to lack of experience, they are never willing to take the risk to explore them, better them from who they were yesterday. But with Experiential learning, the candidates find their inner curious 5 year old and start to experience everything they learn. With experience comes knowledge.
According to Kolb, the experiential learning happens through 4 steps.
Concrete Experience, where the candidates learn through experiencing each theory either through stimulation or active visualization.
Reflective observation, here candidates reflect over their experience, and try to find a pattern or similarity through their experiences put together as a group or individually.
Abstract Conceptualization, is where on finding errors or scope for improvement, the candidates themselves find ways where and how they can improve.
Active Experimentation, here the candidates implement the abstract conceptualization ideas to perform better and effectively.
Experiential learning can exist without a teacher and relates solely to the meaning-making process of the individual's direct experience. However, though the gaining of knowledge is an inherent process that occurs naturally, a genuine learning experience requires certain elements According to Kolb, knowledge is continuously gained through both personal and environmental experiences.