Experiential Learning and Practice
Edited by Gavin M. Schwarz, Anthony F. Buono and Susan M. Adams
Chapter 4: Teaching theory experientially
The author examines the power of experiential learning in enhancing theory-oriented courses. As he suggests, instructors in such courses are often challenged to communicate abstract concepts in ways that generate interest and enhance internalization, getting participants to focus on application rather than concept memorization. Despite advances in learning methodologies, the read_lecture_discuss method still tends to be the preferred vehicle for conceptual learning. Unfortunately, the result is often people who can recite theories chapter and verse, but have difficulty finding any use for this knowledge beyond demonstrating that they are “educated.” The chapter proposes a learning approach that seeks to simultaneously combine experiential and cognitive learning about theory, illustrating this approach with various design examples and offering suggestions for debriefing a simultaneous cognitive and experiential learning design.
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