Learn From Your Own Experience
Did you learn to ride a bicycle when you were a child?
If you did – did you learn by reading a book about
riding bicycles, or listening to a lecture? Probably
you got on the bicycle, with somebody holding you up,
wobbled off down the street, fell down and cried, got
back on and tried again, and before long you had learned
how. As a result, even if it's been 20 years since you
rode a bicycle, you could get on one today and ride away.
You still know how - because you learned experientially.
It was personal, so that riding a bicycle became part of
you, ingrained in your muscles and nerves, something
you'll never forget.
The AsiaWorks Basic Training,
is based on the experiential approach to learning.
Experiential learning is hands-on learning-experimenting,
trying different approaches, discovering what works by doing
Today we spend 12 or 16 or even more years (in elementary
school, secondary school, and university) in an environment
where the main approach to learning is not experiential but
intellectual. In intellectual learning, we are primarily
passive listeners or observers. When we listen to a lecture,
read a book, watch a movie or a TV show, we may understand
what is being presented (and even care about it), but we
remain detached, uninvolved except at the mental level. The
learning-whether the subject is geography or math or human
anatomy-remains at arm's length. It doesn't affect us personally.
We may add to our store of facts and figures through intellectual
learning, but 99 percent of the time we are not changed at the
personal level. Our behaviour, our habits of thinking and feeling
and acting, remain unaffected.
Because it's impersonal, intellectual learning doesn't last. Over
time, we retain only a small amount of what we learn. For example,
what percentage of all the facts and figures you learned in
secondary school do you remember today? Studies show that if you're
like the majority of people, you've retained less than 25 percent-in
spite of the hundreds of hours you spent listening to the teacher's
lectures and studying for exams. Not because you're unintelligent-but
because the intellectual approach to learning is ineffective. What we
learn goes in one ear and out the other.
One of the main reasons for its ineffectiveness is that in the
intellectual approach, the responsibility for learning lies primarily
with the teacher, not the student. That's why the intellectual learning
is sometimes called the "mug and jug" theory of education (See
Experiential Learning Theory
for details.) The student is an empty mug, and the teacher's job is to
pour knowledge in and fill the vacuum. If the teacher gives a good
lecture, so goes the theory, the student will learn. If the student
doesn't learn, the teacher was ineffective.
By contrast, in the experiential approach, the responsibility for
learning rests with the student. The person leading an experiential
learning session is not a "teacher" (not a jug of superior knowledge
who will fill up the students' empty mugs), but a facilitator. The skill of the facilitator is in setting up a powerful learning
environment and creating rich learning opportunities. The student's
job is to take maximum advantage of those opportunities by participating
fully, by getting involved, by being willing to discover, through
experience, what is important to them.
Experiential learning is a discovery process, in which learning happens
through participation-at the physical, emotional and intellectual
level. The learning is personal rather than impersonal. There are no
right answers. Our bodies are involved, our feelings are evoked and
our mind is active. All of who we are is engaged.
If you are ready to discover and become aware of the way you behave in
the important areas of your life - your career, your relationships, your
family, your goals and your direction for the future – then learning
from your own experience in the AsiaWorks
Basic Training may be just what you are looking for!