Last Updated on October 3, 2023 by Editorial Team
Experiential learning, when broken down into its simplest form, means learning by doing. However, in some cases, experiential learning can also take a vicarious path, where individuals learn through others’ experiences.
Apart from other academic and executive skills, experiential learning is said to enhance emotional and soft skills. For instance, listening to an adult talk about the challenges of his/her profession and personal life can also equip them with compassion and empathy.
Owing to the fantastic range of applicability that comes with the inclusion of experiential learning practices, pedagogy has replaced the old traditional method or at least become an indispensable part of all classrooms. So, here are a few examples of how various fields have employed it and enjoyed it.
Experiential learning: Is it helpful in more than one subject?
Experiential learning is a powerful pedagogical tool. It is considered a versatile teaching and learning method, which benefits not only the learner but also the teachers, who can further adjust their techniques to fit the requirements of the classroom. There has been extensive research on the applicability of the experiential learning approach in various fields. It is interesting to note that almost every area has witnessed a positive impact with its inclusion in the general teaching practice.
A study by Kim Hawtrey indicated students’ preference towards experiential learning in economics class. Yet another one by Kausiki Mukhopadhyay and Pallab Paul used experiential learning techniques in international business education and was found to enhance overall learning. Keeping this in mind, there has been a lot of development in experiential learning. Students can also use apps, online games, and activities that employ this method of learning for better learning.
Experiential learning examples for various fields and age-groups
Did you know that not just math and English experiential learning helps in multiple subjects and streams? Check the list below and know it for yourself.
1. Make Your Clock
Get students to make their clocks, and ask them to show different timings. Instead of passively teaching them to look at the tiny and long needles, help them make one.
2. Organize Shapes
Organizing shapes will help students gain an experiential understanding of different 2D and 3D items while engaging other sensory modalities.
3. Everyday Routine
For students of higher classes, asking them to keep track of routine and then asking them to calculate an average of all the things they do can provide them with a real-life application of concepts like range, average, median, and mode.
1. Grow a plant
Ask the students to grow a plant from a seed or pulses available at home. Instead of learning about its growth from textbooks, let them see its development over the weeks and guide them in its evolution.
2. Litmus paper experiments
Books tell us about the chemical nature of substances. But for an experiential learning lesson in a science class, litmus paper experiments can be effective in helping students remember whether a substance is acidic or basic.
3. Zoo Trip
A trip to the zoo is a must in a science class. Not only do the students observe the living, breathing animals from the books, but they are faced with many newer and extinct species of the wilderness.
3. Social Studies
1. Create your government
Asking the students to create a model of their government and how it will be different from existing systems like democracy, dictatorship, etc., can open their eyes to various social problems.
2. Classroom Model United Nations
Model United Nations is a reasonably new addition to all the school clubs, but the only concern is that only a few students are able to opt for it. Hence, a classroom MUN can help students learn about worldly issues and even act like a delegate of the nation allotted.
3. Family Tree
Using family trees, students can learn about their roots and the various communities that make up society. Alongside the family tree, the students can be asked about three traditions unique to their community.
1. Baby Dummies
Trainee nurses can be made to practice diaper changing, injecting young babies, and careful handling through smart baby dummies that respond to touch.
2. Interacting with patients
Community engagement is an essential aspect of nurse training. Hence, interacting with patients and learning about their difficulties with medical problems will shed light on the psychosocial factors of the ailment. Thereby helping students become more aware of symptoms, issues, and treatment of a condition.
3. Case Studies
While seeming a part of traditional learning practices, case studies can be very experiential for a nursing student. Different case studies of various ailments can help them reflect and form strategies to deal effectively with such problems.
1. Business contests
B-schools use this approach to offer the ultimate experiential knowledge of running a business through business contests. Students are asked to create a team and develop a business idea. The best business idea gets an investment to launch the venture.
Students in business schools can organize themselves into a mentor and mentee set-up. The senior students taking up the mentor position can help the juniors with their experiential knowledge and guide them with coursework and internships.
3. Group Discussions
Group discussions are an essential component of the business world. Every business student needs to learn how to put their points forth with all due respect and confidence. While acing group discussions is highly coveted in the business world, the only way to learn is by engaging often.
1. Art and Humanities Colleges
Introspective exercises in the classroom and discussions on various social issues are the best ways to generate experiential knowledge for students wanting to make a career in the field. Additionally, NGO tie-ups can offer greater insight into social issues.
2. Science Colleges
In courses like Btech, educators using team projects like creating a website’s backend or having the student participate in fellowship programs to encourage engaged learning is an example of experiential learning.
Internships arranged by colleges during summer or winter breaks allow students to learn about their field while pursuing their degree. Hence, bridging the gap between theory and practice and generating experiential knowledge.
Students are asked to maintain an academic journal to reflect on all classroom learnings, which can help them question better and engage in the classroom. While this technique cannot be helpful for young students, journaling can be a good practice for teenagers.
Teaching one another can be the best way to learn how much one knows themselves. Hence, peer tutoring can be a perfect way to approach experiential learning in the classroom for teens.
3. Lab experiments
Trying to teach parts of a cell can be easily approached by teenagers through a microscope in the laboratory, unlike younger kids. Hence, for teenagers to learn through experience, a laboratory visit is a must.
Role-plays can be practiced or spontaneous. As the latter is most used, role plays with adults can be fulfilling as far as experiential knowledge is concerned. Considering different perspectives, exploring one’s self is possible through role plays.
Volunteering has some profound benefits. Just like internships, they help students generate experiential knowledge. However, in addition to this knowledge, volunteering helps adults identify what activities they want to do without receiving any monetary compensation.
3. Foreign-Exchange Programs:
Both organizational and education institutes that offer foreign exchange as part of the curriculum can help students build soft skills through experiential learning.
Owing to the versatility of the experiential learning approach, more and more teachers derive confidence and pride from using it in their classrooms. Its limitless benefits, at both personal and professional levels, are significant predictors of success in the real world. Educators have put their heart and soul into applying the approach in various fields and ages, yet the pedagogy remains open to multiple new experiments and tweaks.
- Hawtrey, K. (2007). Using Experiential Learning Techniques. The Journal of Economic Education, 38(2), 143–152. https://doi.org/10.3200/jece.38.2.143-152
- Paul, P., & Mukhopadhyay, K. (2005). Experiential Learning in International Business Education. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 16(2), 7–25. https://doi.org/10.1300/j066v16n02_02
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,