Experiential Learning wlp


Experiential Learning Theory


Carl Rogers, noted educational psychologist, arrived at his belief in experiential learning as a result of the humanistic movement. He agreed with another, earlier, supporter, John Dewey, who was quoted as saying, “There is an intimate and necessary relation between the process of actual experience and education.”

Dewey brought ideas of focusing education on problem solving and critical thinking to the forefront of educational discussions. Rogers felt that because humans have a natural desire to learn, teachers should facilitate the needs and wants of the learner in direct experiences tied to real world problems. Facilitation might include providing: a positive setting, a clear purpose, organized learning resources, balanced intellectual and emotional components, and sharing of feelings and thoughts, without domination. He felt this active engagement, where the learner is a complete participant controlling the direction of the process, was a more significant learning. Finally, any assessment should be done by means of self-evaluation, or reflection.

Rationale for Using Experiential Learning

Many theoretical models of experiential learning agree the components of experience and reflection lead to the true learning that is necessary for future application. This real world problem solving approach has found its home in career, technical and agricultural education because research shows that experience leads to greater retention of knowledge.

Application Example

One example of experiential learning is student teaching. Coursework leads to the experience. Learning from the experience, and reflection of it, can be applied to teaching in the future.


Clark, R., Threeton, M., & Ewing, J. (2010). The potential of experiential learning models

and practices in career and technical education & career and technical teacher

education. Journal of Career and Technical Education. 25(2). 46-59.


Northern Illinois University, Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center, Experiential

learning. (2012). ude.uin|vedcaf#ude.uin|vedcaf, www.niu.edu/facdev, 815.753.0595

Experiential learning (Carl Rogers) http://www.instructionaldesign.org/theories/