ERIC Number: ED260631
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: 0
History and Rationale for Experiential Learning. PANEL Resource Paper #1.
Little, Thomas C.
The history of experiential learning in American higher education is outlined, and the rationale and learning objectives of this type of experience are addressed. Experiential education has resulted from an emphasis on practical knowledge. Although the colonial colleges focused on the classical curriculum, the scientific method of the natural sciences brought concern for practical education and experiential learning, and the Morrill Act in 1862 provided public support of a practical orientation of higher education. Other developments with implications for experiential learning include progressivism, the rise of professions, and the tendency toward multi-disciplinary and cross-disciplinary curricula. Curricula in the academic disciplines, especially in the liberal arts, are increasingly including experiential learning. Quality education requires the kinds of learning involved in both experiential education and information assimilation. The strengths and weakness of experiential learning and information assimilation are addressed. Nine objectives of experiential learning are identified, including: applying or evaluating the body of knowledge and method of inquiry of a discipline through first-hand participation; acquiring skills and values specific to a profession; and learning in a self-directed manner. (SW)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Society for Internships and Experiential Education, Raleigh, NC. Peer Assistance Network in Experiential Learning.
Note: For related documents, see HE 018 617-635.