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Experiential Training and Development


									Experiential Training and Development
Experiential education is just like other learning processes in the way
that it is best taught and understood by the breaking down into stages.
Experiential learning cycles treat the learners subjective experience as
of critical importance in the learning process. Experiential learning
cycles (ELC) draw on experiential education principles, which are largely
based on the educational philosophy of John Dewey (James 2004).
Several models of ELC are currently available ranging from a one step
model to a nine-step model, just as with any new teaching model educators
must research and find which one works best for which situation. In
addition to the set models the great thing about experiential learning
instruction is that you can pick and choose and adapt your styles to the
already formatted models. It is the teachers responsibility to structure
and organize (model) a series of experiences that positively influence
each individuals potential future experiences.
Positive experiences motivate, encourage, and enable students to go on to
have more valuable learning experiences, whereas, negative experiences
tend to lead towards a student closing off from potential positive
experiences in the future. ELC does not leave students descending into a
completely unstructured learning environment. Much research has shown
that student driven education has been attempted and was unsuccessful. A
learner needs some amount of freedom to develop experience based
understanding, in the same as student needs some degree of guidance to
receive the most of the educational setting.
In ELC there is a semi-structured approach. There is relative freedom to
go ahead in the activity and experience for ones self and the educator
also commits to structuring other stages, usually involving some form of
planning and reflection, so that the experience is not kept in its raw
form it is packaged with facilitated cognitive thinking about the
experience. Length of time spent on the stages is all up to the
facilitator and the group. One can spend seconds to days reflecting and
returning to the experience, however it is found to be most effective
when reflection is done immediately following and experience. The model
that is the most commonly used in education and training programs is the
three-stage model. The three-stage model cuts right to the heart of
experiential learning, which is that the experience is what we learn from
and a good facilitator or teacher guides the students to learn about
themselves as well as the ability to internalize the lesson being taught.
The three-stage model comprises of do - review - plan.
Go forth and have the experience
Review what happened and what can be learned
Plan a way to tackle the next round of experience (James 2004)
The most direct application of this model is to ensure that the teaching
activities give a full value to each stage of the process. This usually
means that within a major task the facilitator will have to "chase" the
learner round the cycle in a Socratic fashion asking questions to
encourage reflection, conceptualism, and ways of testing ideas.
This ELC model is by no means the only model possible or the best one the
simplicity of the model itself lends much to the educator to plug in what
is best for the group, as well as one must consider the group they are
working with, the setting and overall goal of the experience. This
process is one that is done by every human alive just internally, the ELC
models assist in taking it a step further to help us leave our internal
system and view our education as relationships to others and aid in
raising self awareness.
James (2004). Experiential Learning Cycles: Overview of nine experiential
learning cycle models.
- Michael Cardus: Is an Experiential Educator, Trainer and Team Building
Consultant for Create-Learning-Team Building - Headquarters in Buffalo NY

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