Experiential learning resources for the innovative educator
I have had many people reach out over the past few months asking about experiential learning in k-12 classrooms. What are experiential learning activities? What are some examples of experiential learning? How do I transition to experiential learning in my classroom or home learning environment right now? I have even had educators reach out that are in the process of starting experiential schools. That is really exciting, and from what I'm gathering, also a little scary and chaotic for these educators.
All of the questions that I'm getting revolve around what is needed to launch experiential learning. Most are looking for a curriculum or set of resources to do the trick. This post is to make recommendations for those exact tools and resources. I have written up two different resource catalogs in this post that will give you everything you need to start experiential learning seamlessly right now.
The resources recommended here promote personalized, student-directed learning experiences for middle and high school students. Check them out and reach out ANYTIME with questions, and continue to follow this current series on experiential learning for more tips and tricks.
If you're not entirely ready for the plunge or you would like to get a better idea of what experiential learning might look like in your classroom, access my free (and growing) experiential learning library.
Getting Started with Experiential Learning: Resource Catalog
The following catalog of experiential learning resources is meant to be used by students to design and execute their own learning experiences. So the suggested set of resources here are for those of you that are ready and willing to dive right in into experiential learning.
Catalog 1: Experiential Learning Starter Kit
This starter kit includes:
1. Resources that Personalize Learning
Experiential learning is personalized, meaning learning experiences are designed around students' unique interests, backgrounds, hobbies, learning styles, and more. Here are a few helpful tools that you can use to get to know your students and for your students to get to know themselves!
2. Student-Directed Learning Resources
As you've seen in my experiential learning blog series, student-led learning experiences are key. How do you make learning student-directed? By giving students choices based on their personal interests and experiences. I have several student-directed learning activity tool kits that can be used over and over and over again, which are all included in the starter kit.
If you're not in need of the entire starter kit, check out some of these smaller bundles.
3. 21st-Century Skill-Building Resources
Developing skills and competencies for life is equally as important, if not more important, than gaining content knowledge. Content can be Googled. The skills to locate information that is not Googleable is more necessary in the 21st-century.
4. Resources to Showcase Learning
"Assessments" have a different meaning in an experiential world. In my 13 years in experiential education, I can safely and accurately declare that I have never administered a test. Yes, testing might have its place, but that place is not in an experiential learning environment. It simply wouldn't make sense.
So how do I evaluate learning?
Catalog 2: Guided Experiential Learning Resources
If you are not a plunge-right-in-and-see-what-happens sort of person, try making a gradual transition to experiential learning with these guided resources rather than getting tool kits mentioned above. At least right off the bat.
I hope that this has been helpful, and as always, reach out with questions. I have played around with the idea of offering a professional development course that would help educators launch experiential learning.
Observe. Question. Explore. Share.
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.