7 ways to encourage experiential learning at your school

7 ways to encourage experiential learning at your school

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experiential learning

Teachers have been facing challenges such as student distraction, lack of interest, and evolving educational trends even before the pandemic. However, a solution may lie in the delivery of educational content. Traditional teaching methods, such as textbooks and lectures, often fail to engage students and promote deep learning. Students learn better when they apply their ideas and learning in practice to solve real-world problems, take decisions and reflect on their results.

Experiential learning is a way that encourages learning by doing. It provides a solution by promoting learning through hands-on experience. Instead of simply lecturing, teachers act as facilitators and provide students with real-world challenges to solve. This active engagement allows students to apply their learning, reflect on their results, and make decisions.

Through experiential learning, students are not just passively consuming knowledge, but actively participating in the learning process. This approach enables them to experience concepts firsthand, analyze and reflect on their experiences, and then apply their newfound understanding to new situations.

There are a few ways to encourage experiential learning at school:

1. Roleplay 

Role-playing is a beloved part of children’s lives and they enjoy it thoroughly. They spend hours pretending to be their favorite characters such as doctors, advocates, singers, police officers, or superheroes. Although adults may view it as a simple game, it has numerous benefits for the mental and intellectual development of children.

Teachers can incorporate role-playing into children’s everyday learning. For instance, students can play characters from history, participate in a shopkeeper-customer game to improve their calculations, write, direct, and stage a play to enhance their language skills. Through role-playing, students develop important skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and empathy as they put themselves in others’ shoes.

Also Read: Back at school, Indian teachers face a crisis of discipline. How to solve these issues?

2. Field excursion

A field excursion is a great example of experiential learning. This takes students out of the traditional learning environment and into the real world to expand their knowledge and develop skills. 

For instance, teachers can take students on visits to a fire station, bakery, architecture site, planetarium, nature walk, or museum. These trips create a memorable and engaging atmosphere that rekindles students’ interest in learning. For example, a visit to an architecture site can help students understand the importance of geometry and how it can be applied in the future.

3. Group work

Facilitating groups through a student-centered approach can lead to a learning experience based on mutual respect, trust, and collaboration. This approach encourages students to be active participants and develop a sense of ownership over their knowledge and experiences.

In group work, students take the lead, delegate roles, share different perspectives, and reflect on their learning, success strategies, and areas for improvement. This helps students comprehend concepts in a meaningful way.

4. Case studies

Many students learn better from real-world examples than from theoretical concepts. Case studies provide this type of learning opportunity and can be highly effective in a classroom setting. They have been used in business, law, and medical schools where students need to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.

To prepare students for the future, teachers should incorporate case studies into their classroom. These assignments require students to answer open-ended questions and solve problems with multiple potential solutions, helping students develop analytical, problem-solving, decision-making, and coping skills.

5. Community service

Community service is a form of experiential learning that involves any helpful activity. Teachers can encourage students to find volunteering opportunities that align with their interests, where they can have fun while serving the community. 

This can include activities such as planting trees, tutoring, volunteering at blood donation camps, organizing community events, donating old books and educational materials, and cleaning the beach. Through community service, students develop a sense of leadership and make a real impact in their community.

6. Activity-based learning

Reflecting on our school days, some classes were more interesting than others. This is often because they were student-centric, including interactive activities like storytelling sessions, word-building exercises, fun math games, and quizzes. This type of experiential learning provides students with hands-on experiences that enhance their learning.

Other forms of activity-based learning include drama performances on educational or moral topics, expressing thoughts and reflections through art, or writing poems for an audience. These activities foster better engagement, creative thinking, and a deeper understanding of the concepts.

7. Games

The concept of learning through play is gaining popularity worldwide. Teachers can encourage experiential learning through educational games that offer educational value. Children learn faster when using multiple senses, making educational games a valuable tool in promoting experiential learning. Teachers can create games for various subjects, including ethics and values, which increase student attentiveness and motivation.

Experiential learning leads to student engagement, deeper understanding, improved academic outcomes, and life skills. It makes learning more relevant to students and increases the effectiveness of learning. It also helps teachers connect theory to practice and ensures student engagement.

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