Higher Education and Experiential Learning

Topics: Educational psychology, Education, Learning Pages: 3 (1165 words) Published: July 27, 2013
Why I joined the Ei Community
Thoughts on experiential education
Thoughts on higher education in general
As you can see from the breakdown of the question, I am an analyst. I have been schooled in the school of schooling to take things apart in order to gain understanding; to formulate a working knowledge of concepts in order to cogitate how things work. I wonder if I’ve always learned this way or if systems’ thinking plasticized my brain via conformity. Irregardless, there is one thing I know about the brain in my 20 plus years of studying it and that is this. Multi-sensory experiences or experiential education equals higher order or deeper learning. Period. Without it, our brain is on an isolated quest to create connections amidst ambiguity and competition for attention while imploring the always time consuming trial and error method of making sense of it all. It’s like working a thousand piece puzzle and trying all 999 pieces until you find a match and then starting all over again with piece number 2. You would eventually complete the puzzle but at what expense. However when we introduce the strategy of experiential learning into the equation, we now have a scenerio where a rich network of knowledge exists; multiple pathways to comprehension, application, and analysis equaling Level 3 learning. In other words, we have opened the puzzle box and huge sections of the puzzle have been left together so that we can quickly and easily find where the missing pieces belong, resulting in working smarter versus harder.

How does this apply to education? One common misconception about the learning process is that as we age our brain assimilates new information, information it has never been introduced to before, easily and quickly. The assumption is that as we age we have more life experiences than we did as a child and stronger neural interconnections increasing both recall and application of the learning. Quite the opposite is true. While it is true that through...
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