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What is Experential Learning?

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential Learning is essentially learning through (an) experience(s) – we all learn this way, all through our lives.

If we are interested in learning something – like riding a bike, or driving a car, or improving our tennis skills, or how to play a new computer game – we often combine some theory with a lot of practice and experience. Sometimes we include coaching, or support from an expert. As an adult this desire to want to learn for a specific reason becomes more important than the typical general interests in learning that children have. The experiential learning experience may be intentional: attending a training program; or unintentional: learning not to eat that food that caused your stomach upset last time!

In RSVP Design terms we believe that structuring specific learning experiences for people, and helping them to reflect on them to build better learning is fundamentally ‘experiential learning’.
It is characterised by less theoretical learning or lecturing by experts, and more practical, personal learning that comes from the individual insights from those involved in these structured experiences, activities, puzzles or games. Often these activities are focused on groups of people or teams, where leadership, team, communication, coaching and other skills can be rehearsed and developed.

Introduction to Kolb

Experiential Learning Model and Theory

David A. Kolb on Experiential Learning: David A. Kolb (with Roger Fry) created his famous model out of four elements: concrete experience, observation and reflection, the formation of abstract concepts and testing in new situations.

RSVP Design uses Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory and Cycle as a basis for all our experiential learning activities.

We design our experiential learning activities, tools, and resources based around this theory so you get the best learning out of your training.

In our opinion it is the ideal method to structure reviews that follow experiential learning activity and helps learners transfer the maximum possible ‘sticky’ learning.

Skills we develop using experiential learning and the Kolb Cycle include:

  • Team Building & Teamwork
  • Management Skills (Customer & Business Skills) 
  • Leadership Skills (Leading Teams & Developing People)
  • Personal Development (Soft & Interpersonal Skills)
  • Facilitation Skills (Virtual & Face to Face Groups & Teams)
  • Employability Skills for Young People

Learning and the Kolb Cycle

Kolb Experiential Learning Cycle Description

David Kolb represented four elements in the famous experiential learning circle that involves (1) concrete experience followed by (2) observation and experience followed by (3) forming abstract concepts followed by (4) testing in new situations (after Kurt Lewin). It is a model that appears time and again.

Download your introduction to Experiential Learning and using the Kolb’s Learning Cycle!

Click below to download further information on why we should use experiential learning and implications for educators

Click here to download the free pdf