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Experiential Learning at Centenary

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning simply involves learning from experience.

A definition of experiential learning can be summed up best in a simple phrase used by professional trainers and adult education developers for decades:

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand."

Experiential learning means learning by doing in order to achieve mastery of a particular skill or area of study. For adult students, it is the most practical and authentic learning method.

What is Experiential Learning Theory?

Experiential learning theory was proposed by psychologist David Kolb. According to Kolb, experiential learning can be defined as "the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combinations of grasping and transforming experience.

Experiential learning theory differs from cognitive and behavioral theories because cognitive theory stress the role of mental processes while behavioral theory ignores how personal reflection enhances the learning process.

Kolb's theories were influenced by the work of American philosopher John Dewey, the psychologist Kurt Lewin, and the French developmental psychologist Jean Piaget.

Kolb described two different ways of gaining learning by experience: Concrete Experience and Abstract Conceptualization. He also described two ways that adults transform their experience into learning: Reflective Observation and Active Experimentation.

Adult Experiential Learning

Adults have preferred learning styles and preferences for how they receive and process information. Some of the factors that influence experiential learning preferences include:

  • Personality type
  • Career choice
  • Current job role
  • Educational specialization
  • Adaptive competencies

Broadly speaking, when there is a good fit between an adult students learning preferences and their chosen college major or profession, then the adult student enjoys the highest degree of academic success and personal satisfaction.

CAEL and the Experiential Learning Experience

Adult students are the present and future of higher education. Not surprisingly, they also represent the majority of U.S. college students.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a special organization formed to address the unique needs and challenges of adult students. For more than thirty years, CAEL has:

  • Assisted colleges and universities to develop and delivery quality education for adult students
  • Helped corporations create solid training programs for their employees
  • Formed workforce initiatives with local economic development
  • Provided educational assessment and career guidance to adult students from all walks of life.

Centenary College is a proud and long standing member of CAEL, and has extensively used its educational principles in the development of exemplary college courses geared for the adult student.

Click here for more information about the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) ยป

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