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Lucubrate Magazine, March 3rd, 2023

This article focuses on the importance of experiential learning and its contributions to classroom engagement and motivation. The importance of experiential learning lies in its ability to facilitate connections between study and work and the connection between the school and the real world. Since experiential education tends to engage a broader range of participants who can impact the organization, employees, educators, leaders, and future colleagues, it is critical to maintaining its positive, welcoming atmosphere.

Experiential learning (Illustration: Adobe Stock)

Experiential Learning Theory

Kolb’s experiential learning theory consists of two parts [1]. The first is that learning follows a four-stage cycle. Learners progress through the stages to complete a cycle and, as a result, transform their experiences into knowledge: 

  1. Concrete Experience
  2. Reflective Observation
  3. Abstract Conceptualization
  4. Active Experimentation

The second part of the theory focuses on learning styles or the cognitive processes that occur to acquire knowledge. The theory outlines that individuals could demonstrate their knowledge or the learning that occurred when they could apply abstract concepts to new situations.


Experiential learning theory integrates the works of the foundational experiential learning scholars around six propositions which they all share:

  • Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes.
  • All learning is relearning.
  • Learning requires the resolution of conflicts between dialectically opposed modes of adaptation to the world.
  • Learning is a holistic process of adaptation.
  • Learning results from synergetic transactions between the person and the environment
  • Learning is the process of creating knowledge.

Converting Practice into Understanding in Experiential Learning 

The positive effect of experiential learning has actual implications for teachers who are thinking of implementing this method in their classes; indeed, they can guarantee their learners’ success by providing them with the knowledge required to perform the task by following the experiential theory, knowledge built through converting practice into understanding. 

The conventional role of the teacher shifts from a knowledge provider to a mediator of experience through well-known systematic processes. Teachers encourage learners by providing information, suggestions, and relevant learning experiences to build a learning milieu where they can be engaged in positive but challenging learning activities that facilitate learners’ interaction with learning materials and illustrates their interest and motivation toward being a member of the learning progression. Through learners’ active participation in experiential activities, the teacher can trigger their ability to retain knowledge, which leads to their intrinsic motivation and interest in the course material [2].

Experiential learning allows students to reflect on their learning.

Opportunity for reflection. Students using the experiential model can reflect on what they are experiencing and learning. Reflection is valuable as they can better retain information when thinking about what is happening to them [3].

Experiential learning encourages students to reflect on what they have learned, relearn more complex concepts, react differently when faced with different scenarios, reinvent their approach to problems, and reformulate their understanding of a subject. By engaging in experiential activities, students can gain a deeper understanding of the material they are studying and develop new skills to help them succeed.

The effectiveness of experiential learning.

Experiential learning is the application of theory and academic content to real-world experiences, either within the classroom, the community, or the workplace, which advances program or course-based learning outcomes focused on employability skills. It advances learning outcomes and encourages reflection and application of skills and knowledge in contexts that prepare students for the workplace and civil society [4]. 

Experiential learning experiences help prepare students for their chosen careers, reinforcing course content and theory. It may be undertaken independently or in teams. Students learn through student- rather than instructor-centred experiences by doing, discovering, reflecting and applying. Through these experiences, students develop communication skills and self-confidence and gain and strengthen decision-making skills by responding to and solving real-world problems and processes.

Instructor Roles in Experiential Learning

In experiential learning, the instructor guides rather than directs the learning process where students are naturally interested in learning. The instructor assumes the role of facilitator and guides by some steps crucial to experiential learning [5]: 

  1. Be willing to accept a less teacher-centric role in the classroom.
  2. Approach the learning experience in a positive, non-dominating way.
  3. Identify an experience in which students will find interest and personally committed.
  4. Explain the purpose of the experiential learning situation to the students.
  5. Share feelings and thoughts with the students and let them know that also the teacher learns from the experience.
  6. Tie the course learning objectives to activities and direct experiences so students know what to do.
  7. Provide relevant and meaningful resources to help students succeed.
  8. Allow students to experiment and discover solutions on their own.
  9. Find a sense of balance between the academic and nurturing aspects of teaching.
  10. Clarify students’ and teachers’ roles.

Experiential Learning as a Part of the Educational Program

Experiential learning should be an essential part of any educational program. It allows students to reflect on their experiences, react to them, and reinvent themselves. By connecting study with real-life situations, experiential learning helps students understand the world and develop the skills they need to succeed in their future careers. Through experiential learning, students gain a deeper understanding of the material they are studying and can apply it practically. This connection between theory and practice is essential for students to become well-rounded individuals ready to take on the challenges of the modern world.

An experiential learning curriculum allows students to reflect, relearn, react, reinvent, reform and reapply their learning.


[1] Alice Y. Kolb and David A, Experiential Learning Theory: A Dynamic, Holistic Approach to Management Learning, Education and Development, KolbWeatherhead School of ManagementCase Western Reserve University, Academia Education 2007

[2] Kong Y. The Role of Experiential Learning on Students’ Motivation and Classroom Engagement. Front Psychol. 2021 Oct 22;12

[3] Experiential learning theory, June 8, 2020, TEACHING & EDUCATION

[4] Northern Illinois University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. (2012). Experiential learning. In Instructional guide for university faculty and teaching assistants. 

[5] Wurdinger, S. D., & Carlson, J. A. (2010). Teaching for experiential learning: Five approaches that work. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Education

Lucubrate Magazine March 2023

The photo on the top of the article: Adobe Stock

Experiential learning, playing the game using a virtual reality headset and gamepads (Adobe Stock)

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Karl Skaar
Mr. Karl Skaar

He is a highly successful professional with a high degree of entrepreneurial flair.

- Responsible editor and publisher of the Lucubrate Magazine, Global
- Project Manager of the Lucubrate Project, Global
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Norsk Kompetansebygging AS, Norway
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nobel Knowledge Building, Uganda

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