Experiential and project-based learning sounds complicated. While it might take a lot of people working together to make this type of educational model effective, the concept underpinning it isn’t difficult to grasp. Here are the three basic principles of an experience-based system in order of importance: out-of-classroom adventures, educational trips and experiential classroom activities. After reading, make sure to reach out to an appropriate institution if you have any questions.
Leaving the Classroom
Experiential education boarding schools start with letting students experience the subject matter as directly as possible. Getting out into the world and interacting with the environment will soon be an inescapable reality for students, yet most traditional programs don’t guide learners towards success in this respect. The simple act of leaving the classroom behind and going somewhere outside the perceived sphere of institutional control is a profoundly revolutionary academic act. It shows students that it’s possible to learn anywhere and at any time: a vital ingredient to success in high-level professions, such as business administration, medicine and law.
The Entire Group
One of the other important parts of experiential and project-based learning is the way it allows students to act together as a group. When the focus is turned from the lesson to the experience of learning, participants suddenly find themselves in a more primary position. Group outings place the process of completing a project or task into an immediately obvious context, such as climbing a mountain. With the correct instruction, students can intellectualize the experience in order to understand how the successes of their group’s achievement could be applicable to future endeavors. In this way, school trips have the potential to empower every participant to become a leader in his or her own life.
An Active Classroom
While the most lasting experiences will likely be outside of the classroom, nearly every school involves some form of traditional learning. It’s important that the principles of experiential learning are introduced to the formal setting. In fact, most schools that focus on this educational philosophy use classroom studies primarily to provide context for hands-on learning. Students are equipped with the tools they need to investigate and interact with their environment, and then guided through their discoveries.
Getting out of the classroom has physical and psychological effects that promote learning. Trips promote group cohesion and interactivity. Experiential classrooms provide a safer space to take bigger intellectual risks. While different schools rely on each of these pillars to differing degrees, you’ll find that all experiential and project-based learning institutions have these values in common. To see the concept in action, check out this school’s website.