The “Do” of Experiential Learning
How many times have you been sitting through an educational session thinking “Geez, this is BORING!” I don’t know about you, but I have found myself saying that more then I’d like. I recognize that there is sometimes when I just need to get the information that is being provided. However, that is no excuse to keep me sitting down for hours on end. I’m a grown adult that has trouble paying attention after too long. I can only imagine the struggle when we don’t give our youth something to do. This is where 4-H can be the cure and why I get excited about my job as a 4-H Extension Agent.
Just Do It!
Not to rip Nike off or anything, but that’s honestly the best way to put it. In a previous post, you can find the overall explanation of the Experiential Learning Model. Here in this post however, we’re going to dive into the first section of the model.
Without an experience, there is no model. Without the model, there is no learning in 4-H. Starting with an active experience allows the attention to be put on the learner rather then the leader. This shifts the paradigm where the leader is all knowing to the leader working with the knowledge that the learner brings to the table from previous experiences. The leader becomes a facilitator that guides the experience, which allows the learner to practice a wide variety of life skills.
Shaping the Experience
There is an endless amount of activities that can be done to provide an experience. The decision will depend on what is being taught, the life skill is being targeted, and the ability for the learner to become involved. Check out this EDIS publication for some great ideas on experiential activities: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/4h340.
Once a proper experience has been chosen and the learners have experienced it, don’t forget to follow through with the other experiential learning steps. The experience itself won’t provide the learning, but it allows for further discussion to happen. This discussion will be detailed further in future posts, so be on the look out!