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Chapter 7 Experiential Learning Kari Schlemmer and Tom Krabbenhoft. Learning in Adulthood – CCE 577 Winter 2013. What Knowles’ Says About Experiential Learning.

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Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

Chapter 7 Experiential LearningKari Schlemmer and Tom Krabbenhoft

Learning in Adulthood – CCE 577Winter 2013

What knowles says about experiential learning

What Knowles’ Says About Experiential Learning

Knowles states, “adults come into an educational activity with both a greater volume and a different quality of experience from youths” (1989).

The longer we live the more experiences we have that can enhance our learning processes.

M m activity

M & M activity

Discussion questions

Discussion questions

  • How many of you were surprised by the number of M&M’s in the jar?

  • How close were you to the correct number on your initial guess?

  • How did working in pairs, small groups, and as a whole group make you feel while making this decision?

  • Did you notice any leaders in the group? Did you notice any individuals who chose not to participate/engage in the collaboration?

  • Any other additional observations or comments

Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

Essential Chapter Concepts

Theoretical Conceptualizations

Fenwick (2003)

  • Reflecting on concrete experience (constructivist)

  • Participating in a community of practice (situative)

  • Exploring unconscious desires (psychoanalytic)

  • Resisting dominant social norms of experience (critical/cultural)

  • Exploring ecological relationships with cognition (complexity)

Fenwick 2003

Fenwick - 2003

  • Fenwick (2003) proposes 5 perspectives that “raise important questions about the nature of experience.”

    • Reflecting on concrete experience (Constructivist theory of learning). This theory focuses on “reflection on experience”. People reflect on experiences that they have and construct new knowledge out of these reflections. Total focus is placed on the learners processes of learning as a result of previous experiences.

    • Participating in a community of practice (situative theory of learning). This theory embodies the concept that knowing and doing are intertwined. Participation is a goal of this perspective.

    • Getting in touch with unconscious desires and fears (psychoanalytic theory of learning). The unconscious (and our desires) interferes with conscious experiences in this theory of learning. If we have conflicting desires, our learning experience could be compromised.

    • Resisting dominant social norms of experience (Critical cultural theories). This theory “seeks to transform existing social orders, by critically questioning and resisting dominant norms of experience.”

    • Exploring ecological relationships between cognition and the environment (complexity theories applied to learning). The focus in this theory is not on the experience but on the relationships that bind together all of our systems (like, consciousness, identity, actions, interactions, objects, etc).

Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

Models of Experiential Learning

  • Dewey (1938)

  • Kolb (1984)

  • Jarvis (1987)

  • Boud and Walker (1991)

  • Usher, Bryant, and Johnston (1997)

Methods of Experiential Learning

1. Reflective Practice

2. Situated Cognition

3. Cognitive Apprenticeships

4. Anchored Instruction

  • Learning from experience involves adults’ connecting previous knowledge/experiences effectively to future situations (p. 185)

Approaches to experiential learning

Approaches to Experiential Learning

Dewey 1938

Dewey - 1938

“Genuine education comes from experience”, but “does not mean that all experiences are genuinely educative.”

  • Experience must possess the two major principles

    • Continuity-“every experience takes up something from those which have gone before and modifies in some way the quality of those that will come after.”

    • Interaction-“an experience is always what it is because of a transaction taking place between an individual and what, at the time, constitutes his environment.

      Note: These two theories are interconnected and often work together to create experiential learning.

Kolb 1984

Kolb 1984

Builds on the ideas of

Dewey, Piaget, and Lewin.

If we are to learn from our experiences we must have the following 4 abilities:

  • An openness and willingness to involve ourselves in new experiences

  • Observational and reflective skills so these new experiences can be viewed from a variety of perspectives

  • Analytical abilities so integrative ideas and concepts can be created from their observations

  • Decision-making and problem solving skills so these new ideas and concepts can be used in actual practice

Kolb and kolb 2005

Kolb and Kolb (2005)

Took Dewey’s ideas to the next step by compiling 6 general propositions of experiential theory:

  • Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes.

  • Learning is relearning-students’ ideas must be drawn out, discussed and refined.

  • Learning requires a resolution of “dialectically opposed modes of adaptation to the world” in other words “learners must move between opposing modes of reflection and action and feeling and thinking.”

  • Learning is holistic.

  • Learning involves interactions between the learner and the environment.

  • Learning is constructivist in nature.

Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

Boud, Walker, and Keogh’s model consisted of 3 stages:

(1985 & 1996)

JARVIS -1987

  • Jarvis critiques the Kolb model and reminds us that experience and reflection does not happen in a vacuum and that this model does not account for issues of power.

  • Jarvis (2001) suggests that there are two main types of learning from experiences:

    • Non-reflective learning - remember an experience and simply repeat

    • Reflective learning - think about the experience and change behaviors accordingly

  • Returning to and replaying the experience

  • Attend to the feelings that the experience provoked

  • Reevaluate the experience

  • “…people need to work through any negative feelings and set them aside so they can enhance the positive feelings. If negative feelings are not addressed, then learning can become blocked. “ Merriam, p. 165

  • Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

    Usher, Bryant, and Johnson (1997)

    Working from Jarvis (1987)and Boud and Walker (1991), Usher et all, view experience as a text to be used in learning – as ”something to be ‘read’ or interpreted, possibly with great effort, and certainly with no final, definitive meaning” (Merriam p.166)

    “The self is a culturally and historically variable category”.

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Chapter 7 experiential learning kari schlemmer and tom krabbenhoft

    Educators Roles and Purposes


    • *serve as facilitators of reflection and encourage learners to discuss and reflect on concrete experiences in a trusting, open environment.

    • *act as a catalyst. Instructors can involve students in role-plays or problem-based learning exercises where the learners must solve a dilemma.

    • *become the student’s coach or mentor. Mentors are typically life guides and coaches help students gain knowledge or perform a particular skill.

    • SituativeFramework

      • 1. Get the learner involved in a community of practice. Arrange situations where the learner can participate. Give participants assistance when they get stuck

      • 2. Use service learning activities (volunteer work)

      • 3. Cognitive apprenticeships are a primary source of experiential learning opportunities

    With the critical cultural lens, instructors would help students to see the influence of power relationships in their lives. Teachers will encourage students to evaluate their situations and provide support and encouragement while the students reach a solution.

    Complexity theory:

    Encourage students to “seek open spaces” or experiment with change its self.

    Experiential learning from psychoanalytical perspective would involve educators encouraging students to pay attention to their dreams, behaviors and odd images that may arise in their minds. There is hope that the students would bring light to unconscious feels associated with the learning material. Also, instructors would encourage students to keep a journal.

    Data collection discussion

    Data Collection Discussion

    Early on we quoted Knowles, “adults come into an educational activity with both a greater volume and a different quality of experience from youths” (1989).

    We decided to approach our data collection from two directions to look at experiential learning across the lifespan.

    Kari took some time to observe experiential learning in children, by watching how her son and his peers interact at pre-school.

    Tom took some time to create a survey and collect data from an international group of adult online learners.

    All i really need to know i learned in kindergarten by robert fulghum

    All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten(by Robert Fulghum)

    These are the things I learned:Share everything.Play fair.Don't hit people.Put things back where you found them.Clean up your own mess.Don't take things that aren't yours.Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.Wash your hands before you eat.Flush.Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.Live a balanced life -Learn some and think someAnd draw and paint and sing and danceAnd play and work everyday some.Take a nap every afternoon.When you go out into the world,Watch out for traffic,Hold hands and stick together.Be aware of wonder.

    Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten.Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at Sunday school.

    Data collection discussion continued

    Data Collection Discussion continued…

    Experience is observing, encountering, and undergoing

    Online virtual pilot training

    Online Virtual Pilot Training

    • Knowledge and Skills Based Training Curriculum

      • Physics of Flight

      • Basic Flight Maneuvers

      • Navigation

      • Formation Flying

      • In-Flight Communications

    • Mid - Point Assessments – 3 Certifications

      • Knowledge Testing – probing questions to determine familiarity with material and experience level

      • Skills Testing – In-flight basic skills demonstrating sufficient “stick time” to build adequate experience and “study time” to encounter knowledge

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Adult online experiential learning

    Adult Online Experiential Learning

    • Education (yrs.)

      • 0-12 15%

      • 13-16 23%

      • 17-20 62%

    • Years Graduated

      • 2-4 8%

      • 5-715%

      • 8-10 0%

      • 11-15 15%

      • 16+ 62%

    • N = 13

    • Age

      • 25-34 15%

      • 35-44 15%

      • 45-54 54%

      • 55-64 16%

    • Nationality

      • N. America 46%

      • W. Europe 46%

      • Africa 8%

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Adult online experiential learning1

    Adult Online Experiential Learning

    • Actual Benefit

      • None 0%

      • Little0%

      • Some38%

      • Much62%

    • Anticipated Stress

      • None 38%

      • Slightly 54%

      • Somewhat 8%

      • Very 0%

    • Anticipated Benefit

      • None 0%

      • Little 8%

      • Some 31%

      • Much 62%

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Adult online experiential learning2

    Adult Online Experiential Learning

    • Less Likely 0%

    • Unchanged 38%

    • More Likely 62%

    • Are you more, less or unchanged in the likelihood to participate in some kind of other learning activity after having gone through the training program?

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Adult online experiential learning3

    Adult Online Experiential Learning

    • Formal Group (Anchored)85%

    • Community (Situative)77%

    • Formal Textbook (Reflective)77%

    • Informal Group (Critical)69%

    • Mentor (Cog. Apprentice)69%

    • Independent Study (SDL) 46%

    • Self-Reports of the Importance of Experiential Learning Methods

      “Very Important”

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning



    • Experiential Learning occurs throughout the life-span.

    • The older we are the more experiences we are able to draw from and make connections from past to present.

    • We can use past experiences to try to predict possible future outcomes with more certainty.

    • Successful experiential learning may be a pathway to increased chances for future engagement in learning.

    Chapter 7 - Experiential Learning

    Presentation summary

    Presentation Summary

    • We discussed Fenwick’s 5 main theories to experiential learning.

    • We completed an activity where we demonstrated 2 of the 4 methods of experiential learning

    • We shared our data collections to demonstrate the range of experiential learning

    • Any additional comments

      or questions

    • Methods of Experiential Learning

      • 1. Reflective Practice

      • 2. Situated Cognition

      • 3. Cognitive Apprenticeships

      • 4. Anchored Instruction

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