18. Learning by Doing: Experiential Learning

18.2. Core Design Principles

Experiential learning focuses on learners reflecting on their experience of doing something, so as to gain conceptual insight as well as practical expertise. Kolb’s experiential learning model suggests four stages in this process:

  • Active experimentation
  • Concrete experience
  • Reflective observation
  • Abstract conceptualization

Experiential learning is a major form of teaching at several universities, including the University of Waterloo in Canada and Aalborg University in Denmark. The conditions needed to ensure that experiential learning is effective can be found from the Association for Experiential Education.

The next section examines different ways in which these principles have been applied.