When young people learn through doing, they are engaging in experiential learning. When youth-led experiential learning is happening, young people focus on real issues they can relate to that are taken from the real world they live within. Experiential learning is individually oriented, even when children and youth work in groups. Action learning, service learning, cooperative learning and challenge learning are all forms of experiential learning.
“…for the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” — Aristotle
Ways Youth Engagement in Experiential Learning Happens
Youth-Led Projects — When young people lead experiential learning, they can change the world. Learning about different activities, planning experiences, facilitating groups and assessing their projects can show youth they are powerful beyond measure.
Youth/Adult Partnerships — Working with adults as allies allows young people to build their abilities, knowledge and skills in safe, healthy relationships. Experiential learning can allow children and youth to build new understandings of how teaching and learning happens.
Community Youth Development — Become engaged in actively, meaningfully changing their communities can give young people opportunities to learn through experience while changing the world. Learning about community, social change and action is at the heart of CYD.
Needs for Youth Engagement in Experiential Learning
Training — Learning about experiential learning as a concept and a practice can build the ability of children and youth to make life experiences more meaningful for themselves. They can be trained in the methodology, in the facilitation, in assessment and in how to apply experiential learning beliefs across different applications.
Inspiration — Going through learning activities without knowing what is happening, why its happening and where its going to, young people can lose their motivation for learning. Becoming inspired can happen through storytelling and a lot of other ways.
Classroom Credit — Experiential learning can be challenging to plan, hard to facilitate and risky to assess. Acknowledging the energy, action and goals of learners with classroom credit can add substance, meaning and depth to experiential learning.
You Might Like…
- Youth Engagement in Service Learning
- Youth Engagement in School Reform
- “The Future of Youth Engagement” by Adam Fletcher
- Wild Child: Rewilding Childhood
- “Ennis girls win young social innovators award” for The Clare Champion
- “Experiential learning” from Wikipedia
Other tools are out there, too – share your thoughts in the comments below! For more information about how The Freechild Project can support experiential learning in your community or organization, contact us.