What is Experiential Learning? Everything You Need to Know

Even to date, experiential learning is reserved for college and university students when the fact is well known that younger students respond better to experience if compared on a balanced scale.


Even to date, experiential learning is reserved for college and university students when the fact is well known that younger students respond better to experience if compared on a balanced scale. Nature has designed human children to majorly learn from experience. That is why their curiosity levels exist at peak levels where they experiment, make mistakes and learn from the same. Our education system might have evolved to be more theoretical but experiential learning cannot stay out of the curriculum. The best schools in Greater Noida West focus on this mode of learning from the very beginning as placing education on the student’s natural wiring almost always leads to effective results.


What is experiential learning?

As the moniker suggests, experiential learning is learning through experience. The 70-20-10 rule states that 70% of what we learn throughout our life comes from experience where the physical act of doing something is the teacher. For instance, a primary school student can learn addition on paper by writing that 2+2=4 or he/she can combine 2 apples with another 2 apples and actually count as the result to be 4. This simple example is enough to highlight the potential of experiential learning. Growing up, students can learn about photosynthesis by observing plants or pick up chemistry by mixing chemicals in the lab.


The four steps of the experiential cycle

Experience alone is not enough to teach the intended lesson. The top 5 schools in Greater Noida put their students through the four vital steps of experiential learning to complete the loop and repeat the cycle with another topic. The flow is as follows.


  1. Experience

Suppose a student is conducting a chemical experiment in the laboratory where mixing chemical A with chemical B should result in a chemical C with a particular colour and odour. The act of the experiment is thus an experience for the student.


  1. Reflection

If the result was right, then the student is guided to think about what all he/she did right. However, if chemical C did not show the intended properties, the student is asked to reflect upon the same and pinpoint whatever mistakes he/she might have made during the experiment.


  1. Conceptualise

In this step, the student is directed to research the possible ways he/she can rectify the mistake made. It might be that chemical A and B were not added in the right amounts. Maybe the exterior conditions like applying heat were not maintained. The student needs to absorb the required concepts and prepare for the final step.


  1. Experiment

Or, repeat the initial experiment where things went wrong. Now the student is equipped with experience which will dictate that the same mistakes are not repeated. With reflection and concepts into the mix, the current result might be nearer to the accurate properties of chemical C. If not, the student will turn the loop and go back to step 1.

As evident, the above cycle can be applied to teaching any topic. Starting from how to spell to solving the complex problems of calculus, experiential learning can send knowledge into the deeper realms of memory.


How is experiential learning better?

The above steps compel students to summon their higher-order thinking capacity. This involves skills like logical reasoning, analytical reflection, critical thinking and problem-solving. Lower order thinking like memorising and recalling may help to some extent in finding out what could have been done right while conducting the experiment but the very first step of identifying the mistake and pinpointing the rectification courses will require higher-order thinking. Going forward, these skills are rising in demand and students need to master their analytical and logical side to find success. And any institute in the list of Greater Noida schools can work on that by following the nuances of experiential learning.

Plus, this form of learning carries a social aspect. Students cannot figure out the solutions by working alone always and might have to interact with peers and teachers to identify what went wrong and what they can do about it. In other words, experiential learning encompasses other beneficial aspects like interactive and application-oriented learning. One approach may open the gates for others to come in.

BGS Vijnatham has been an active advocate of experiential learning. Its infrastructure like “Step and Learn” and language labs have been designed to promote the approach. In BGS, the priority is always on education and its retention and rarely has the school merely focused on performance. When learning is right, performance naturally follows and no extra work is required to guarantee the latter. Experiential learning’s alignment with human nature makes it a winning concept. Schools must adopt the same to ensure a better quality of academics and pave the way for adequate application of education.




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