Experiential learning provides students with real experiences outside the classroom from which they can develop lifelong practical skills and adapt quickly and pragmatically in problematic or unfamiliar situations. As a teacher, you’ve already experienced the benefits of experiential learning first hand. There’s no doubt a lot of useful knowledge is gained from lectures in college, but the internships and practicums turn those abstract concepts into concrete notions.
At GROUND Asia our student travel programs are an important part of the experiential learning process. Not only are our trips a fun way to get out of the classroom, they reinforce academic concepts, and build on students’ relationships with their schooling. In today’s society where smartphones and other technologies have become a part of teenage life, there’s nothing quite like leaving these distractions behind and getting back to the routes of basic practical learning.
In the classroom, students may tune out if the material doesn’t relate to their real-world experience. Experiential learning takes the information in abstract concepts and makes it relatable by testing its practicality with hands-on experiences. A student’s experiential learning experience will also depend on their unique past experiences. Each student will interact with the information and task at hand in a different way. This in turn helps each student to develop a personal connection to the particular subject or area.
Experiential learning leads to more creative thinking, with students engaging the creative portion of their brains to find unique solutions to the task at hand. This creativity along with varied results forces them to try many-different approaches. This flexibility helps to enrich the classroom experience, as well as society as a whole.
Opportunity for reflection
Reflection is an integral part of experiential learning. By combining abstract theories with their concrete experiences, students use new parts of their brains to process this unique, personal knowledge. They will reflect on how their actions affected the results and how their outcomes may vary with other students. The insights gained will help them apply critical thinking skills and logic to other scenarios or future circumstances.
Learning from mistakes
Part of the magic behind practical learning experiences is discovering a working solution through trial and error. Some approaches work better than others, but it is only by trying it out will groups realize if it works or not. This is a valuable skill to have that can be adapted to future situations. Students become more confident and learn not to fear mistakes, but to value them as part of their personal development.
There is evidence that suggests that practicing a skill or talent strengthens neuroplasticity in the brain, in effect, making us ‘smarter’. Hands-on tasks can be complicated and require patience and teamwork. These processes increase a student’s engagement; accelerates their learning and improves their ability to separate useful and superfluous information.
In addition to enhancing students’ knowledge and skills, the practical and personal nature of experiential learning engages them emotionally. When students can witness the concrete results and benefits of their hard work, they experience a great sense of pride and gratification. This often leads to a renewed curiosity to learn.
The communal nature of GROUND Asia’s community service projects abroad is an important part of the experience. Through our hands-on team projects, students learn to work more effectively together. They develop a plan of action and learn to utilize the unique strengths of each team member. Students learn to apply critical thinking, adapt to circumstances, and develop real-life leadership skills.
Nothing prepares students better for the working world, than an opportunity to learn outside the classroom or lecture hall. From our educational travel programs to faculty-led study tours and vocational courses, GROUND Asia gives students the practical edge that graduate schools and employers are often looking for. For more information on GROUND Asia’s school travel programs, faculty-led study tours and vocational courses, please get in touch with us.
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GROUND Asia partners with communities across Asia to assist in their sustainable development. The communities we work with are our clients. To meet their expectations, we empower them through mutually beneficial programs to ensure their development needs come first.