ERIC Number: ED374093
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-May-1
Reference Count: N/A
Teaching for Understanding: Attaining Higher Order Learning and Increased Achievement through Experiential Instruction.
McDavitt, David S.
This study investigated the effectiveness of experiential learning in promoting student understanding and achievement, as compared to traditional expository instruction. Twenty third-grade students from central Virginia were divided into two heterogeneous groups and taught a single lesson on air using identical content objectives. The control group was taught through expository instruction while the experimental group learned using constructivist, experiential techniques. The expository lesson consisted of lecture, note-taking, reading, viewing diagrams, answering and asking questions, filling out worksheets, and memorizing facts and vocabulary. The experimental lesson comprised 10 hands-on experiments that the students carried out alone, in small groups, and as a class, with each student recording hypotheses and results and with discussion of the experiments taking place. Each group was given the same assessment tool, which tested both lower order and higher order learning outcomes. Results indicated that experiential learning produced higher achievement at all levels of thought for learners of all ability levels. The paper recommends that the entire educational system recognize and make use of children's natural cognitive processes through system-wide experiential education. The lesson plan and assessment instrument are appended. (Contains approximately 60 references.) (JDD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Virginia (Central)