Home

Back to
Experiential Learning

What is Experiential Education?

James Neill
Last updated:
06 Oct 2004

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains. 
The superior teacher demonstrates. 
The great teacher inspires.
- William A. Ward

Go to more Education Quotes...


Students are actively involved

In experiential education, the student becomes more actively involved in the learning process than than in traditional, didactic education.  For example, going to a zoo and learning through observation and interaction with the zoo environment is experiential and in contrast to reading and talking about animals in a classroom.  The main difference here, from a pedagogical point of view, is that the educator who takes his/her students to the zoo rather than stay in the classroom probably values direct experience more highly than abstract knowledge.

Educators' value the students' experience

Experiential education is based on experiential learningExperiential educators operate under the assumption that:

educational goals can be effectively met by allowing the nature of learner's educational experience to influence the educational process

Experiential educators are generally aware that experiences alone are not inherently good for learning.  Thus, experiential try to arrange particular sets of experiences which are conducive towards particular educational goals.

Experiential education comes in many shapes and sizes

Experiential education is widely implemented across a range of topics and mediums - for example, outdoor education, service learning, internships, and group-based learning projects.  Many educational projects are experiential, but don't refer to themselves as such (e.g., excursions, physical education, manual arts, drama, art, and so on).

Experiential education according to Googlism

Here's 40 or so selected responses from a Googlism search for Experiential Education:

  • experiential education is based on experiential learning which is based on the theory of experience

  • experiential education is a systematic approach to applied learning whereby a student engages in professional & productive

  • experiential education is a process through which a learner constructs knowledge

  • experiential education is probably the oldest form of education

  • experiential education is to develop skills in leadership and management

  • experiential education is learning by doing

  • experiential education is an educational philosophy and related strategies to increase understanding

  • experiential education is sometimes misunderstood

  • experiential education is really the oldest approach to learning

  • experiential education is a process

  • experiential education is a term that's come to stand in for outdoorsy programs like nols or outward bound

  • experiential education is the most effective way to make a positive difference

  • experiential education is a strategy designed to formally integrate the student's academic study

  • experiential education is an education methodology which integrates the classroom with the workplace

  • experiential education is any form of education that integrates students' experiences into the curriculum

  • experiential education is a unique and powerful training experience that challenges workgroups to assess their strengths and discuss

  • experiential education is any form of teaching that utilizes direct "hands-on" experience

  • experiential education is an educational strategy that connects classroom theory with practice in the real world

  • experiential education is the process of actively engaging students in an experience that will have real consequences

  • experiential education is a relatively new concept but one which is proving very popular

  • experiential education is a general term

  • experiential education is nothing new

  • experiential education is the process of actively engaging learners in an experience that will have real consequences

  • experiential education is to contribute to making a more just and compassionate world

  • experiential education is also used by schools and workplaces coming together to allow students to apply classroom learning in the community and workplace

  • experiential education is group dynamics

  • experiential education is a structured semester

  • experiential education is essentially an educational philosophy first developed in the late 19th century
    experiential education is a powerful learning tool

  • experiential education is an umbrella term which describes many different opportunities

  • experiential education is practically a "must" in technical education as we enter the new millennium

  • experiential education is redundant

  • experiential education is a vital part of this curriculum

  • experiential education is a key to success

  • experiential education is a process of education based on learning by direct experience and using all the senses

  • experiential education is only for people who are interested in the outdoors and climbing rocks

  • experiential education is based on the philosophy of cooperative education

  • experiential education is to provide for the educational and career development of the student

  • experiential education is not separate from traditional education; rather it complements it by providing opportunities

  • experiential education is about people experiencing a natural, yet often unfamiliar environment

  • experiential education is learning that occurs through active involvement in what is being studied

  • experiential education is committed to supporting professional development

  • experiential education is more involving the learners are invited to participate

  • experiential education is a holistic approach which incorporates physical activity while also providing social and emotional challenges

  • experiential education is a process that differs from traditional education by maintaining that knowledge is individually and communally constructed by people

Recommended reading