What is an Experiential Education?
Image: Students from Professor Matthew Burke's Social & Sustainable Art Practices class work on building sun hives for bees.
Experiential Learning denotes a rigorous learning experience, occurring within a community setting (e.g., professional, artistic, scientific, scholarly, local) and integrated as part of an academic degree program, which requires the student to take an active role in the learning process.
The principles of experiential education practice at the University of Kansas are based on the Eight Principles of Good Practice as identified by the National Society for Experiential Education:
- Intention, Planning, and Preparedness: The intent of an experience should be clear from the beginning. Sufficient planning makes these intentions obvious to the learners. Students who are involved need to have sufficient foundation for the experience.
- Reflection: This is the element that transforms simple experience to a learning experience. For knowledge to be discovered and internalized, the learner must test assumptions about the outcomes of their work. Reflection should happen throughout the process and can be used to adjust the educational experience.
- Monitoring the Process for Progress: Any learning process must be dynamic and must have opportunity to affirm the learner and support the facilitator.
- Assessment and Evaluation: Outcomes should be systematically documented with regard to assumptions and outcomes. All parties should be included. Assessment is a means to develop and refine learning goals, while evaluation provides comprehensive qualitative and quantitative data about the process.