Over a hundred years ago, a very smart man, Hermann Ebbinghaus created what is known as the “Learning Curve”.
Why is this important to Outdoor Education? How does this apply to Experiential Learning? What IS Experiential Learning?
Woah Woah Woah! Hold your horses Excelsiorites! So many questions can only be answered once you’re done reading our blog!
The learning curve hypothesis by Hermann Ebbinghaus states that during a lecture, if a student’s absorption rate is at 100 per cent on day one, there is a 50-80 per cent loss of learning from the second day onward, which is reduced to a retention rate of just 2-3 per cent at the end of thirty days!
(We didn’t mean to sound so preachy, but…) It is amazing to think that a hypothesis formulated hundreds of years ago is even more relevant now in today’s modern era of technology and easily accessible knowledge. Attention spans have significantly decreased today thanks to one-minute videos, memes, vines and similar quick interactions, leading to even more difficult retention. This is where Experiential Learning comes in!
Experiential Learning is defined as a form of active learning that focuses on “learning through reflection on action”. As educators, we know that students learn more quickly and retain more information when the subject relates to them on a personal level. The act of doing makes learning extremely personal. The process of experiential learning involves a good degree of both self-initiative and self-assessment and most importantly, hands-on activity.
So want to know how Experiential Learning is better than conventional methods of rote learning (And why Excelsior rocks for believing in the method?) Here’s the answer!
Experiential Learning methodology uses critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making to deliver a training module. Because it comes from a place of experience, the ability to retain is proven to be a lot easier and effective.
Bridges the Gap Between Theory and Practice
By moving beyond theory to the outdoor realm of “learning by doing”, students get a first-hand experience of practising what has been taught. This plays a crucial role as they learn to actually apply what they know in real life.
Increases Engagement Levels
(No we’re not talking about Instagram) But the high levels of focus on collaboration and learning from each other benefits everyone involved, as it increases engagement. In fact, since the students are immediately involved in the problem-solving activity or event, the level of ownership of the outcome is much higher. (That excitement that you get from taking charge of something you know? That’s it!)
Enables Personalized Learning
Since experience is involved, students are able to set their own learning pace. This enables us to put Excelsiorites in a place of responsibility and take charge of their education and levels of learning.
Experiential Learning is a radical departure from traditional learning methods and takes learning beyond the classroom. Thanks to it, we are able to better prepare our students so that they may become lifelong learners, ready for any challenge life may throw at them!