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SPIP: Experiential Learning


Experiential Learning is more than just going through a learning experience; it is through reflecting on the experience that learning takes place.

John Dewey, a proponent of experiential education, wrote in 1938 that “Experiential Learning takes place when a person involved in an activity (or experience) looks back and evaluates it, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity”.

For Experiential Learning to be effective, there needs to be personalised reflection on the activity or experience, as well as formulation of plans to apply what is learned to another activity or other contexts.

Watch this 3-minute video for a concise explanation of Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle.

Reynolds, C. (2013, December 18). The 3 minute Kolb. [Video file]. Retrieved from


Learn from other educational institutions how they are bringing Experiential Learning into their classes, from the humanities to the sciences.  Hear from lecturers, the different case studies and examples of Experiential Learning at The University of Texas at Austin.

Experiential Learning is a key pedagogic strategy in Ryerson University.  On their website can be found their model of Experiential Learning, types of learning activities, resources on best practices and critical reflection.

This site provides resources on various publications, research, and conferences on Experiential Learning.

Key Features

Experiential Learning can be viewed as a cyclical process, which includes four phases.

[Untitled photo of a cyclical process]. [Image]. Retrieved from
​      content/uploads/2016/02/ELM-Model-1-720x720.png

When designing Experiential Learning, it would be important to bear in mind the following considerations:

  • Choice of activity or experience to be as relevant as possible to the real-world
  • Learners are central as they have to be involved in the learning process from start to end
  • Personalised reflections on the activity or experience are crucial for learning and must be planned for


Book Resources


  How does Experiential Learning help learners to think
  about their own thinking?  What strategies can be pulled
  out from the concepts of Experiential Learning, to help
  learners improve the way they learn?

  Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2009). The Learning Way: Meta-cognitive
                                      aspects of Experiential Learning
. Simulation & Gaming, 40(3),
                                      297-327. doi: 10.1177/1046878108325713 Retrieved from