Few months back, CEO of a large Indian FMCG company proclaimed ‘94% of engineering graduates were not fit for hiring!’ This, even though every college competes to achieve the ‘quickest’ 100% placement year after year. Isn’t it odd that graduates fresh out of college spend on average 3-months in ‘corporate training programmes’, getting ready to ‘hit the floor’? As Covid19 thrusts the bogey of eLearning upon all, we may finally witness an upgradation of syllabus & teaching methodologies across domains. Students of all age groups will move to a practical-oriented learning methodology. Companies catering to Edtech & Edutainment shall fuel this growth story in coming years.
Over last couple of decades, experiential learning has made a quiet progress. In simple words, experiential education can be defined as ‘Education through Experiences’. Herein,STUDENTS
are engaged through first-hand experiences coupled with focused reviews to develop not only their knowledge but also stir-up decision-making & problem solving abilities. Often times, these experiences are designed to ensure practical learning by mirroring real-world examples. Thus, making students ready for the life post-studies. Demanding active participation from every student is a key strength of Experiential Learning. Students can reflect upon their choices and learn through self-motivation, iterations & failures. This engagement & participation from all overcomes the biggest drawback of traditional education system. Students are encouraged to ask questions, take up responsibilities, experiment & innovate. Research has shown that critical reflection on direct experiences activates the emotional quotient within learners. In the process, students reflect deeply upon challenges and initiate themselves towards self-learning.EDUCATOR:
An educator delivering experiential learning can be anyone with subject matter expertise – say coach, mature professional, external consultant etc. They bring a flare of practicality to learning in comparison to the theory-laden approach in clearing final exams. Today’s corporate world expects fresh recruits to be equipped with skills like solving real-life problems. The educator, using their experiences; designs the program modules. They are aware that students from varied backgrounds look at a problem in their own ways. Solutions offered would differ as well. Hence, the educator’s role and degree of own experiences are very important in successfully delivering a program. At the same time, each batch of learning provides an opportunity of personal development for the educator as well. Learning about one’s judgements, biases & presumptions is a ‘work in progress’ no matter one’s age. Thus, the educators not only oversee mental growth of their pupils but also of their own selves.
Honestly speaking, methodologies of experiential learning have existed since long though in a measured way. Only recently has experiential learning become mainstream. In fact, its applications are used as ice-breaker in traditional workgroups. Such exercises can easily get a hitherto unknown group of individuals to warm-up & accustomed to work with each other in a short span of time.
The final key element of experiential learning is “follow-up”. As participants are put on a path of self-learning, they are expected to apply their experiences in the real-world. Educators remain open to feedback & suggestions regarding their programs. Experiential learning is a process, the success or failure of which is difficult to map in short run. But, as the education industry warms-up to it; we can expect experiential learning to at least improve overall quality of future workforce, if not more. Author is Country Manager at EDHEC Business School and can be reached out at firstname.lastname@example.org