8 Ways To Teach Experiential Learning

Making the Most of Experiential Learning
  1. Make it purposeful (meaningful).
  2. Provide opportunities for reflection.
  3. Include faculty involvement throughout the process.
  4. Students work should be evaluated.
  5. It should offer or simulate, as close as possible, a “real-world” context.

Experiential Learning: How We All Learn Naturally

Why is this teaching method important?

Several factors make this an essential teaching strategy to use with your students:

What is experiential learning?

When students actively engage in a learning experience and reflect on what they have accomplished and how that experience has impacted them, this is known as experiential learning. Compared to direct instruction, this method of learning is less structured, more interactive, and student-centered. The goal of experiential learning is to give students hands-on exposure to situations they might encounter in the real world. Field trips, student teaching, interactive experiments, and apprenticeships are a few examples of common experiential learning activities.

How to teach experiential learning

Here are eight strategies for incorporating experiential learning into the classroom:

1. Pro and con grid

Your students have the opportunity to concentrate on a subject from your lesson and make a list of its benefits and drawbacks using the pro and con grid activity. Have your students work in groups of three to six to complete this activity. Describe the subject they are focusing on and specify how many advantages and disadvantages you want them to list. Allow them to collaborate and create their lists in their groups for 10 to 15 minutes.

Allow one representative from each group to list one pro and one con that their group has thought of after the allotted time has passed while you write it on the board. Continue going around the room until all of the groups have participated and the pros and cons have been exhausted. A great way to enable students to view a subject from various perspectives is by creating a pro and con grid. They can take charge of their education, take responsibility for the activity’s results, and consider how their own perspective differs from others.

2. Cross-age peer tutoring

Cross-age peer tutoring involves pairing up older and younger students, with the older student serving as the tutor and guiding the younger student as the tutee through a lesson on a subject the tutor has already mastered in class. You can start by deciding whether your students should participate in the activity as learners or teachers. Then, ask a teacher whose class would like to participate in the activity if their students were two years older or younger than yours.

Give each pair of students a certain amount of time to teach and practice the lesson after you’ve paired up your classes. Tell them to ask each other questions, maintain open communication, and list at least three things they each learned from the activity to help facilitate the activity. Each pair is given the chance to reflect on different facets of the lesson, such as what it’s like to be the teacher versus the learner, by being asked to list what they learned.

3. Student-made test questions

Students have the opportunity to contribute to the creation of higher-order thinking questions on tests, which are questions that call for more in-depth thought when answering. Ask students to generate two to four questions about the lessons they just learned after you are done teaching. To ensure that they are using their own complex thinking abilities to create the questions, explain the factors that result in a higher-order thinking question. Next, have them make answers that go with their questions. After that, put them in groups and have them compete against one another using the questions they came up with.

They can consider how other students might have understood their questions differently than themselves through this activity. They also enable teachers to determine whether students’ expectations for a forthcoming test or assignment are realistic by revealing to them what they perceive to be the lesson’s central idea.

4. Fishbowl

A “fishbowl” activity allows some students to sit in the middle of the room while the rest of the class faces them and listens to them talk about a predetermined topic. Typically, the subjects are debatable by students and offer no clear right or wrong answers. Group the students into groups of four to eight for this activity. Assign a subject to each group’s discussion during their turn in the fishbowl. You can select the same subject for each group or assign different subjects to each group.

The goal of the activity is to have a fruitful discussion on a subject until a team can come to a consensus regarding the three key issues. The groups outside the fishbowl’s role is to observe and listen as the group inside discusses its subject. You can ask everyone to give feedback to one another about what went well during the discussion and how they can improve once all groups have finished talking about their respective topics. Students can be curious, solve problems, take risks, and research new topics through this activity.

5. Mnemonic devices

A mnemonic device is an acronym that aids students in remembering concepts they are learning in class. For instance, a common mnemonic for learning the nine planets is “My very educated mother just sold us nine pizzas.” The first letter of each word corresponds with the order of the planets, making this a mnemonic device. Explain this idea to your students so they can all comprehend it before you start this activity. After that, split them up into groups and teach each group a recent academic concept.

The arrangement of the colors in the rainbow or the hierarchy of operations are frequent subjects. Give them a specific amount of time to come up with their ideas, and then have them each stand in front of the group to discuss theirs and how they came to that decision. Through this activity, they can connect academic material to real-world information. Instead of just repeating or memorizing the information, they are actively considering ways to remember it, which can make it easier for them to do so.

6. Field trips

Field trips offer a wonderful setting for students to apply and experience the lessons learned in the classroom in the real world. For instance, you might think about taking your students to their neighborhood aquarium after finishing a science unit on marine life so they can explore the sea life and get a chance to interact with some of the animals you’ve been studying in class. A historical reenactment event, where participants dress in period garb and act as though they are in a different time period, could be another option for an experiential learning field trip for your students.

Students can apply their knowledge to hands-on experiences by going on field trips. By presenting the information to students in a more enjoyable and engaging context, this can help them make new connections with the knowledge they have already acquired in enriching ways.

7. Engineering projects

Give students the chance to design their own engineering projects, if possible. Many students learn best when they are physically active, or they are kinesthetic learners. Giving them the chance to build something on their own can help them learn useful abilities like cooperation, patience, and problem-solving. To give students a foundational understanding of engineering, start by teaching an introductory engineering lesson.

Students can create some sort of infrastructure using straws, paper towel rolls, and other household items either individually or in groups, depending on how many materials you have available. You can decide to give each class or group a particular infrastructure or let them collaborate to develop their own concept. This activity can be tailored to the individual needs of each student and is appropriate for a wide range of learners. It encourages innovation, dialogue, and experimentation and is likely to keep students interested in learning the foundations of engineering.

8. Enact a play

You can locate a play with a subject related to what your students learned while studying the most recent lessons after finishing a unit. For an additional creative element, if your students are old enough, they can even write the play themselves. With younger students, begin by choosing a play. Place your older students in groups and instruct them that they will write a play with elements from the lesson you just finished.

For instance, if they had just finished writing a short story, they might decide to adapt it into a play. Similar to how you could choose a particular aspect of the Civil War and center your story around it if you had just finished studying it. Give them enough time to develop, practice, and perform them in class. This gives them another way to think about the material they studied and enables them to engage with it in a more interactive way. Additionally, you get a chance to observe how the students viewed the subject matter.


What is an example of experiential learning?

Experiential learning examples. visiting a zoo to observe animals in person rather than reading about them Instead of watching a movie about it, try growing a garden to learn more about photosynthesis. attempting to learn how to ride a bicycle rather than listening to your parent explain the concept

How do you develop experiential learning?

All images courtesy of Forbes Councils members.
  1. Make It All Fun And Games. …
  2. Build The Experience In-House. …
  3. Use Another Team’s Challenges. …
  4. Start With Company Culture. …
  5. Try Real-World And Role-Specific Simulations. …
  6. Plan To Incorporate Experiential Activities. …
  7. Connect It To A Bigger Picture. …
  8. Have Them Improvise.

How can you promote experiential learning in the classroom?

How can schools promote experiential learning?
  1. Mock-trials or debates.
  2. Organising business internships.
  3. A boarding component to campus life, such as school camps, places students in charge of some aspects of daily life like cleaning, time management, and study.

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