Rohan Parikh

How experiential learning helps nurture brighter minds

September 14, 2020

– Rohan Parikh, managing director, The Green Acres Academy

“Play is not a break from learning. It is endless, delightful, deep, engaging, practical learning. It’s the doorway into a child’s heart,” said Vince Gowmon as he explained the beauty and importance of play, a method of experiential learning.

Experiential learning or learning by doing is a powerful way to engage students and ensure deep learning. It offers students the opportunity to have a real world experience. Experiential learning is active, unlike linear, teacher-led classrooms where students are passive recipients of information. 

At The Green Acres Academy, students participate in experiential learning in multiple ways. For instance, they are exposed to the very valuable, design thinking process. One group of students participated in City as Lab, a project that aims to give students the platform to study and find solutions to local problems, using their scientific knowledge. Not only does this immerse students in their context deeply, it also builds a scientific temper. 

Similarly, the school’s student council used design thinking to understand the student body they represent. With the data collected, the student council has found and will implement solutions to improve the student experience and represent student interest more clearly, to make school a place all students are happy and comfortable. Here, students collaborated, used their research and problem-solving skills, just as they would be expected to do in the real world. 

Such experiences are much like science experiments. While they are challenging, they provide unparalleled exposure. Students have the opportunity to apply their learning, see its value first-hand, and find relevance in what they are doing. 

Experiential learning is most effective when students reflect on their experiences and build deep connections with conceptual learning imparted in the classroom. Such deliberation makes abstract concepts and information learned in the classroom relevant and relatable. 

Imagine for a second, the excitement on the faces of young students on a field trip. These students are at the zoo to see mammals and reptiles in their environments after having studied them in their science classes. Besides being a powerful learning experience, it is likely to be an experience students enjoy.

Young learners look forward to the chance to be curious, investigate, test their hypothesis, and actively use their knowledge or gain new knowledge in authentic spaces. 

In the contemporary world, successful people are positive and productive contributors. Those that do well in their workplaces, solve problems of society, and meet consumers’ unmet needs are great examples! Experiential learning is an effective method to prepare students to become sharp individuals who are ready to join and lead the workforce and take on the many challenges of adulthood.

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