Experiential learning means learning by experience.
The experiential learning environment works to create an interdisciplinary learning experience that mirrors real-world learning. Such an experience can occur in the classroom, within the community, or within the workplace.
Experiential learning requires the student not only to engage in the experience activity, but also to reflect upon their learning and how the competencies they developed through their academic studies can be applied to real-life experiences. Experiential learning is important, as it:
- makes learning relevant for students. It builds on the competencies they have mastered in the classroom by providing opportunities to make connections between new concepts and existing ones.
- encourages the development of competencies. Students engage in critical thinking and problem solving and develop communication and citizenship competencies as they engage with real-life problems.
- increases student motivation and engagement
Community-based learning programs encourage the expansion of learning opportunities by bringing the community into the school and by placing students in the community.
Through these experiences, students of all grade levels (primary to grade 12) gain opportunities to apply and enhance, in real-life contexts, the competencies acquired through their work in school. Community-based learning enhances students’ personal development, their sense of belonging to their community, and their understanding of community roles and responsibilities.
Exposure to varied community-based learning experiences will highlight the linkages between the curriculum, their own lives, and their communities. Students need to view the competencies developed through the curriculum as practical and valuable preparation for specific post-secondary destinations, for meaningful participation in the community and the workplace, and for the complex demands of adult life.