Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is based on the assumption that knowledge is created through the transformation brought about by experience.

The concept of learning may be defined as an adaptive change to inputs from the environment (Witteman, 1997: 6). In the Theory of Education, it is cognitive learning that receives the most attention. Cognitive learning means the interpretation and processing of information. It’s about making sense of things, which means choosing, interpreting and situating information. It is a process by which individuals develop cognitive maps of their environment. It makes sense of the environment by recognising the events which do not fit in with the individual’s experience, then absorbing and codifying them, taking the reference framework as the basis from which to work. Making sense of something is a self-referential activity, which implies that the selection of what makes sense or not is based on the actor’s framework of choice (Cisca Joldersma, 2000).

Experiential learning is based on the assumption that knowledge is created through the transformation brought about by experience. The particular experience is translated into an abstract conceptualisation which is actively tested through new experiences. Kolb’s cycle of experiential learning ((Kolb, 1984) perfects the work of other authors following the same line, such as Lewin (1951), Dewey (1938) and Piaget (1978). It is centred on the idea that experiential learning exists as a particular form of education, distinguished by the central role that experience plays in the learning process.

Organizational learning
Individuals are the origin of all organizational learning. It is the thoughts and actions of the actors that influence learning at the level of the organisation. Individual actors all have their theory-in-use, which is implicit in the results of the actors’ behaviour patterns. On interacting, the actors exchange their theories-in-use, creating the organisational theory-in-use. Shared behaviour cycles are created, involving negotiation and agreement on the significance different situations may have for the organisation (Weick, 1979)

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Cisca Joldersma, (2000), Policy learning through simulation/gaming, in Simulation & Gaming Yearbook: Simulations and Games for Transition and Change, 6 pp.79-80Dewey, J (1938) Experience and education, Kappa Delta, New York
Kolb, D (1984) Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development, Prentice Hall, New Jersey
Lewin, K (1951) Field Theory in Social Sciences, Harper & Row, New York
Piaget, J (1978), What is psychology, American Psychologist, July, pp 648-52
Weick, K. E (1979) The Social Psychology of Organising, 2nd, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MAWitteman, H P J (1997) Styles of Learning and Regulation in an Interactive Learning Group System, Nijgh & Van Ditmar

Ricardo Zamora
Training Games
Managing Director

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