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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2003, MCB UP Limited
Books. The Power of Experiential Learning: A Handbook for Trainers and Educators
The Power of Experiential Learning: A Handbook for Trainers and Educators
Colin Beard and John P. WilsonKogan Page2002ISBN: 0749434678£19.99
Learning from experience is among the most fundamental and natural means of learning available to everyone. It need not be expensive, and does not need large amounts of technology to support the learning process. In most cases, it needs only the opportunity to reflect, either alone or in company.
Experiential learning can take many forms, from recreational or leisure activities, through exhilarating journeys or adventures, to experimentation or play. It can be applied in management education, corporate training, youth-development work or schools. Beard and Wilson define it as: "A client-focused, supported approach to individual, group and organizational development, which engages the … learner using the elements of action, reflection and transfer".
The Power of Experiential Learning explores the historical roots of experiential learning theory, and practical applications to illustrate the value of learning from experience. The book includes features from fields such as psychotherapy, psychology, education, training, people development, adventure and leisure. It suggests numerous ways to stimulate people's senses, and so stimulate deeper thinking and learning.
The authors offer methods that help people to see and understand things as if for the first time, even though they may have undergone the experience before. The book shows ways to revisit past experiences and view them in a new light. It considers ways to improve immediate learning and investigates the possibilities of learning through imagination and projecting ideas into the future.
The book includes methods that enable people to make sense of their experience, as well as methods to develop and practise new behaviours. The techniques include mood setting, drama, creative writing, art, meditation and routine rituals.
The book provides its target readership of developers, educators and trainers with help in focusing on the design of new ideas and explores ways to improve professional practice and ethical responsibility through self-monitoring and feedback techniques. Many of the theories and practical methods presented apply equally to providers because, as practitioners, they too are learners, and good practice emanates from a person's ability to learn from his or her experience.
The authors attempt to bring together all the main ingredients of learning into a "learning combination lock", which is based on the notion that the person interacts with the external environment through the senses. The book uses the lock as a tool to show that, while there are no easy answers, there are vital ingredients that can be used to create new recipes for learning. Readers are encouraged to add to the learning combination lock and develop their own personal learning combination lock that will help them to solve their own obstacles and challenges and add to the range of options.
The authors recognize that each reader will have his or her own requirements. Good signposting helps each reader to dip into and out of the text, to select the areas of greatest individual benefit.