Experiential learning is an effective educational method. It is a process of making a meaning from direct experience. Experiential learning focuses on the comprehensive learning and crowing process for the individual. According to Kurt Hahn’s experiential learning philosophy there is something good in every person and focusing and developing on that good, individual’s personal growth will take place.
Environment on experiential learning programs is very often nature. Programs can include trekking, paddling, sailing or climbing. Different elements and activities are used for supporting the learning process, they should not be the reason to join for the programs. Nowadays even more different art elements, such as music, theatre and drama are used during the courses and some courses are totally based on them. Some Outward Bound centers also run their courses in urban environment.
Instructors in experiential learning programs are trying to provide different challenges which can be faced and overcome and then those will lead to learning and development. Challenges give opportunities for the individual and the whole group to realize and evaluate how they work and operate in different surprising situations. Group is seen as a mirror which reflects and gives feedback for individuals about themselves and their own actions. Using review conversations during the course, instructors are trying to help participants to transfer learning to their normal life. Outward Bound courses provide opportunities for the participants to realize their own boundaries, stretch them, cross them and finding new ways to act. Overcoming the challenges during Outward Bound courses increases one’s readiness to survive also from the challenges in everyday life.
Experiential learning engages the learner at a more personal level by addressing the needs and wants of the individual. Experiential learning requires qualities such as self-initiative and self-evaluation. For experiential learning to be truly effective, it should employ the whole learning wheel, from goal setting, to experimenting and observing, to reviewing, and finally action planning. This complete process allows one to learn new skills, new attitudes or even entirely new ways of thinking.