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Assessment of Experiential Learning

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Hannah Cusack

on 29 March 2013

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Transcript of Assessment of Experiential Learning

Assessment Methods Experiential
Learning Experiential Learning Definition When education is said to be experiential, it means that it is structured in a way that allows the learner to explore the phenomenon under study–to form a direct relationship with the subject matter–rather than merely reading about the phenomenon or encountering it indirectly. Experiential learning, then, requires that the learner play an active role in the experience and that the experience is followed by reflection as a method for processing, understanding, and making sense of it
-State University David Kolb's Four-Stage Cycle 1.Concrete Experience
2.Reflective Observation
3.Abstract Conceptualization
4.Active Experimentation Kolb's Learning Styles Each representing the combination of two
preferred styles
1. Diverging (CE/RO)
2. Assimilating (AC/RO)
3. Converging (AC/AE)
4. Accommodating (CE/AE) 1. Teach less, and share more.
2. Be receptive
3. Focus on the child’s attention without delay
4. Look and experience first; talk later
5. Joy should permeate the experience

- Joseph Cornell Portfolios Students verify how they have learned or developed knowledge
through their experiences. They include carefully thought out structured student reflections where students must demonstrate how their learning experiences have shaped the individual they are becoming. When education is said to be experiential, it means that it is structured in a way that allows the learner to explore the phenomenon under study–to form a direct relationship with the subject matter–rather than merely reading about the phenomenon or encountering it indirectly. Experiential learning, then, requires that the learner play an active role in the experience and that the experience is followed by reflection as a method for processing, understanding, and making sense of it
- State University Opportunities I see knowledge sharing as a really important thing—getting the word out about these awesome opportunities, making new opportunities.

Partnerships could be a wonderful opportunity, to partner high school or university students with elementary school students to have fun outside with them—to share and connect them with nature.

- Beth Giesbrecht— environmental educator Aldo Leopold
Students have an ability to see things; to use patience and observation, relating events that are so broad and seemingly unconnected.

Thinking like a mountain—only a mountain knows. There is something about nature that we will never be able to understand—and we are so distant from it.

Only by taking the time to observe will we be able to live a non-sterile world. What makes life intriguing is the ability to take the time to walk about and observe how other things are doing, allowing us to make comparisons to things that we do

- Dan Keppie, UNB Forestry Professor Observation Today’s society has become so fast-paced,
we need to just slow down and be in a space, just take it in, observe, and breathe. Celebrate natural spaces—looking at something so closely as you draw it—your attitude about that place will be different

- Jenn Pazienza, Art Educator, Constant Learner References

Association for Experiential Education, 2011, para 4. Retrieved from http://www.aee.org/about/whatIsEE
Cornell, J. (1998). Sharing Nature With Children. Revised and Expanded. The Classic Parents’ and Teachers’ Nature Awareness Guidebook. DAWN Publications. Nevada City, CA.
D’Arcy, M and C. (March 2013). Personal Communication with regards to Friends of the UNB Woodlot volunteering.
Giesbrecht, B. (March 2013 Personal Communication with regards to CPAWS, Real Food Connections, and her work with children and nature.
Hagar. (2009). Models of Collaboration. Nonprofit Organizations Working Together. The Collaboration Prize.
Haynes, C. (2007). Experiential learning: Learning by doing. http://adulteducation.wikibook.us/index.php?title=Experiential_Learning_-_Learning_by_Doing
Keppie, D. (April 2013). Personal Communication with regards to Aldo Leopold, the UNB Woodlot, teaching environmental topics.
Knudtson and Suzuki. (2006). Wisdom of the Elders. David Suzuki Foundation.
Leopold, A. (1968). A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. Reprint Edition (New York: Ballantine.)
Orr, D. (1992). Ecological Literacy. Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World. State University of New York Press, Albany, NY.
Manolis, C., Burns, D. J., Assudani, R., & Chinta, R. (2013). Assessing experiential learning styles: A methodological reconstruction and validation of the Kolb Learning Style Inventory. Learning and Individual Differences, 23(1), p44-52.
Pazienza, J. (March 2012). Personal Communication with regards to Art in Nature, Education and Spirituality. Charlotte Street.
Qualters, D. M. (2010). Bringing the Outside in: Assessing Experiential Education. New Directions for Teaching and Learning (124), p55-62. DOI: 10.1002/tl

http://www.aee.org/about/whatIsEE Ian Smith
Working to create a lager network between the stakeholders involved with nature in the Fredericton community (Nature Trust, UNB, NGOs, GNB)
Supporting the movement to get children connected with nature (Get Outside)
Trying to create an awareness of the nature parks that NB has to offer

How to Assess Experiential Learning
Hopefully, as educators we are able to quantify a child's learnings based on the skills they express after a learning experience. Experiential learning is learning by doing and as teachers, the greatest method of assessing a child's learning experience is seeing how they transfer those skills.

If a child learns skills based on adventure and observation, the values instilled in them during these experiences should be translated into other areas of their education. With the right facilitation, school should provide students with an environment that constantly engages students and allow them to transfer their skills from one lesson to another. In an ideal world, the values students gain from an experience will be transferred to other disciplines. Experiential learning is also referred to as learning through action, learning by doing, learning through experience, and learning through discovery and exploration.

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand ~ Confucius, 450 BC

Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I will learn ~ Benjamin Franklin, 1750

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

- William A. Ward The principles of experiential learning are:
• Experiential learning occurs when carefully chosen experiences are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis.
• Experiences are structured to require the learner to take initiative, make decisions and be accountable for results.
• Throughout the experiential learning process, the learner is actively engaged in posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative, and constructing meaning.
• Learners are engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, soulfully and/or physically. This involvement produces a perception that the learning task is authentic.
• The results of the learning are personal and form the basis for future experience and learning.
• Relationships are developed and nurtured: learner to self, learner to others and learner to the world at large.
• The educator and learner may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking and uncertainty, because the outcomes of experience cannot totally be predicted.
• Opportunities are nurtured for learners and educators to explore and examine their own values.
• The educator's primary roles include setting suitable experiences, posing problems, setting boundaries, supporting learners, insuring physical and emotional safety, and facilitating the learning process.
• The educator recognizes and encourages spontaneous opportunities for learning.
• Educators strive to be aware of their biases, judgments and pre-conceptions, and how these influence the learner.
• The design of the learning experience includes the possibility to learn from natural consequences, mistakes and successes.
-Association of Experiential Education Approaches to go about assessment
1) There are four essential questions that should be asked before designing the assessment methods.

WHY are we doing assessment?
WHAT are we assessing?
HOW do we want to assess in the broadest terms?
HOW will the results be used?

These questions allow school personnel to focus on the bigger picture, to analyze the details of the experience, to look at multiple methods and data-gathering approaches, to address concerns early on, and to provide transparency about assessment. 2) To answer “burning questions” that all parties involved in the experiential experience are really concerned about answering. Assessment mechanisms can be developed and prioritized to provide useful answers if these questions are elicited, not just collecting information that a small group can use. (example questions: Are or are students not using classroom theory in practice? (faculty), how does the experience enhance my discipline knowledge? (student), etc.)

3) Alexander Astin put forth an assessment model that can be easily adapted to experiential education. Astin’s model is referred to as I–E–O:

I is input (assessing students before an intervention, finding students’ current knowledge, skills and attitudes)

E is environment (assessing students during the experience); and

O is output (assessing the success after the experience). Many different methods of capturing learning need to be met in order to make assessment of experiential education meaningful. There are no conclusions in the assessment, just ongoing questions that the data raise about learning and the process of learning. By using a multi-method approach that engages faculty in identifying and designing methods to answer their questions and with a clear consideration of design that goes beyond perceptions into documenting learning, experiential education can move from the periphery of learning to demonstrating that learning beyond the classroom is a central component of education.
Specifically, they note that experiential learning is effective in increasing students' meta-cognitive abilities, enhancing their ability to apply information to actual situations, and giving them the ability to become self-directed learners. Kolb's Experiential Learning Model is based on six propositions:
1. Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes.
2. Learning is a continuous process grounded in experience.
3. Learning requires the resolution of conflicts between dialectically opposed modes of adaptation to the world.
4. Learning is a holistic process of adaptation.
5. Learning results from synergistic transactions between the person and the environment.
6. Learning is the process of creating knowledge Experiential learning can be defined as kids (and adults!) learning through exploring, experiencing, creating, discovering, relating to and interacting with the world around them.
This form of learning is unstructured, without rules or time limits, and involves little adult guidance. Kids are allowed to learn naturally, on their own terms. Experiential learning can occur via activities such as playing outdoors, imaginative or pretend play, creative expression through art, music and dance, exploration of nature and the child’s surrounding environment.
Experiencing the world independently helps kids think for themselves. By doing so, they gain a sense of achievement and improved confidence.
- Persil: Dirt is Good Experiential learning engages students in critical thinking, problem solving and decision making in contexts that are personally relevant to them. This approach to learning also involves making opportunities for debriefing and consolidation of ideas and skills through feedback, reflection, and the application of the ideas and skills to new situations.
The idea of experiential learning as a cycle was suggested by prominent educationalists such as Jean Piaget, John Dewey and David Kolb.
The experiential learning cycle involves five phases:
1) Experience
Engaging in an experience in a particular situation and then observing its effects
Engage in an activity that:
- Is likely unfamiliar to the participant
- Is possibly uncomfortable, pushes personal limits
- Offers minimal instruction- let the participants figure something out before being told how to do it
2) Share
Participating in a discussion about their experiences doing the activity
Share (What happened?)
- Participants should talk about what they experienced while doing the activity.
- Reactions
- Observations
- Feelings
- Encourage discussion and expression of ideas and feelings.
- The leader should have some questions ready to aid the discussion or should bring up major points.
3) Processing the experience
Understanding what we did, thought and felt during the experience
Process (What's important?)
- Analyze and reflect on what happened.
- Discuss how problems and issues were brought out through the experience.
- Discuss how these problems and issues were addressed.
- Discuss personal experiences of participants.
- Look for recurring themes.
4) Generalizing
Understanding the general principle (called a ‘generalization’) behind the relationship between the action and its effects
Generalize (So what?)
- Find trends or common truths in the experience.
- Relate the experience to "real life."
- Identify key items that were learned.
- Identify key terms to relate to the experience.
5) Applying
Applying the principle or generalization to a new situation.
Apply (Now what?)
How can lessons be applied elsewhere?
How will the lessons learned be useful in the future?
Discuss how behaviors and actions can be modified to improve the results, or how results can be accomplished more efficiently. Journals
•Asking students to keep a journal throughout their experiential learning journey allows teachers to assess the effect of the learning experiences while encouraging students to self-asses. Teachers can offer focused journal prompts to guide students writing on changes they see happening within themselves and with their process of learning.
Research-Based Projects
•Research-based projects in experiential learning ask students to do investigation about a topic beyond library books and journals although those materials certainly may add to the research. Depending on the nature of the experience, students can engage directly with research sources through interviews, case studies and observations.
Discussion Boards
•Discussion boards can be a replacement for, or an addition to, traditional reflective journals. Teachers who want to assess experiential learning activities in an online course may find discussion boards useful. By offering focused prompts, teachers can engage students and students can engage each other in discussions of the impact of the experiential learning activities on themselves and on the community if the experiential learning activities are community-based.
Games and Simulations
•Online games and simulations ask students to take the knowledge they have gained in class and use that knowledge successfully in a simulated virtual atmosphere such as Second Life. Teachers can ask students to complete a series of tasks in the virtual situation to measure student mastery of course material.
- Experiential Learning Assessment Toolkit Field Trips
Conducting Experiments
Focused Imaging
Field Observations
Model Building
Surveys Methods of Assessment and Learning The essence of effective experiential learning is that the entire process is centered on the learner - not the task, not the organizational objective, not the qualification standard, not the group, and not the teacher's personal opinions. The focus of EL is placed on the process of learning and not the product of learning.The instructor's role is to facilitate rather than direct student progress, and to design instruction to engage students in direct experiences which are tied to real world problems and situations. Proponents of experiential learning assert that students will be more motivated to learn when they have a personal stake in the subject rather than being assigned to review a topic or read a textbook chapter. The phases of experiencing (doing), reflection and applying being present is essential in EL. In addition, what makes experiential learning different and more powerful than the models commonly referred to as “learn -by-doing‟ or “hands-on-learning" are the stages of reflection and application. Integrating Experiential Learning (EL) in Teaching

As previously noted, a primary role for instructors is to identify a situation which challenges students through problem-solving, cooperation, collaboration, self-discovery and self-reflection. At the same time, decide what the students should learn or gain from the learning experience.

Once the EL experience has been decided upon, plan the experience by tying it to the course learning objectives and determine what students will need to successfully complete the exercise (resources such as readings and worksheets, research, rubrics, supplies and directions to off - campus locations, etc.). Also, determine the logistics: how much time will be allotted for the students to complete the experience (a complete class session, one week or more)? Will students need to work outside of class? How will the experience end? What forms of assessment will you employ? Will you use ongoing assessments such as observations and journals (called formative
assessment), end of experience assessments such as written reports and projects, self and/or peer assessments, or a combination of all three?

After the planning has been completed, prepare materials, rubrics, and assessment tools and ensure that everything is ready before the experience begins.

As with most instructional strategies, the instructor should commence the experience. Once begun, you should refrain from providing students with all of the content and information and complete answers to their questions. I instead, guide students through the process of finding and determining solutions for themselves.

Success of an experiential learning activity can be determined during discussions, reflections and a debriefing session. Debriefing, as a culminating experience, can help to reinforce and extend the learning process. In addition, make use of the assessment strategies previously planned.

- NIU Education
Attempting too much
Getting the balance wrong
Assuming that learners are radical
Having no structure
Over-planning and keeping too tightly to plans
Having no clear outcomes
Closing down options
Not adjusting to the group
Undervaluing experience Debriefing is an important phase of experiential learning because it helps students to:
•Learn through reflecting on what they have done;
•Consolidate their concepts and generalizations about the topic being studied through the process of reflection and with guidance by their teachers; and
•Apply what they have learned in new situations.
- UNESCO Ask questions that are open-ended (that can’t be answered with yes or no). Instead the questions seek more detail and require the kids to process their learning experience. When asking questions, try to direct the questions to the entire group instead of at specific individuals. Let the kids volunteer their responses helps create a more positive learning environment than putting individual kids on the spot. Problems with
experiential learning methods Experiencing/Exploration
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