Experiential Learning & Teaching in Higher Education


A major premise of experiential learning practices is that experience is necessary for learning, yet our understanding of the concept of experience and its role in learning remains unclear. This study examines the experiencing process in experiential learning and formulates a conceptual foundation for the experiencing concept that integrates insights from four contemporary traditions of experiencing research: Focusing, Flow, Mindfulness and Absorption. Empirical validation is tested with the construction of The Experiencing Scale, a self-reported gauge of one’s level of experiencing in a given context. The Experiencing Scale instrument was distributed to undergraduate students following participation in an experiential classroom activity. Analysis was conducted using structural equation modeling to determine validity and reliability of the Experiencing Scale. From a sample of 270, our findings identified 18 items, which grouped to represent three factors, Novelty, Presence and Embodiment. The results suggest that when these factors are experienced, learners can more fully engage in all stages of the experiential learning cycle (Kolb, 2015). While exploratory in nature, the scale can be a useful tool for those who wish to increase the level of experiencing and engagement in learners and potentially serve as a guide to the design, implementation, and evaluation of experiential learning.

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