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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago


The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them.

- Aristotle




Experiential Learning...is as old as time itself.


Image provided by University Associates


learning how to hunt through hunting....

learning how to make fire by making fire…



But in the modern era, it is attributed first to the work of Kurt Lewin, a theorist in social psychology. Lewin’s work in the 1940’s focused on how substantive learning best occurs when experience, action and reflection interplay (Connor, 1997)


In the 1960’s, David Kolb and Roger Fry, both professors of Organizational Behavior, built on this concept (Smith, 1996) and created a representation of the experiential learning circle:




The 4-H model (Head, Hands, Heart, Health) takes the circle and relates in to youth education in simple and profound terms (Diem, 2005)







In other words, experiential learning leads learners to:


Step 1. Experience the new activity by doing it

Step 2. Share the results and observations of, and reactions to, the activity

Step 3. Process the activity by analyzing and reflecting on it

Step 4. Generalize the experience of the activity to the real world

Step 5. Apply what was learned to other situations or settings



Lather. Rinse. Repeat.



Experiential education,

then, is a philosophy and methodology in which educators purposefully engage with learners in direct experience and focused reflection

in order to increase knowledge, develop skills and clarify values (Association for Experiential Education, 2008).


For more information about experiential learning:


Watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv2Oag7UmXA

Hear http://www.podcastdirectory.com/podshows/iphone.php?sid=874426

Read http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-explrn.htm

Join http://www.aee.org/customer/pages.php?pageid=28

Experience http://www.extension.iastate.edu/learningandliving/main/ex_experiential.htm




"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand."







Association for Experiential Educaiton, (2008). What is Experiential Education?. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from Association for Experiential Education Web site:


Conner, ML (1997). Learning From Experience. Retrieved May 3, 2008, from Ageless Learner Web site: http://agelesslearner.com/intros/experiential.html


Diem, KG (August 2005). The Learn-by-Doing Approach of 4-H. Retrieved May 3,2008, from Science Discovery Series Web site:


Smith, M David A. Kolb on Experiential Learning. (1996). In The Encyclopedia of Informal Education Web. London: Infed.org. Retrieved May 3, 2008, from

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