Experiential Learning: Beginning
Last updated on 2016-09-13
About the Book
Reader Daniel Read wrote:
"I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of this three volume book set by Jerry Weinberg called "Experiential Learning". I also have had the pleasure of attending some of Mr. Weinberg's experiential workshops. This stuff is gold. You won't find it anywhere else. I dare say it is the culmination of a life's work by someone who practically invented this approach. (A few other Weinberg books could fit that description, actually--he has several "life's works"!)" <end quote>
The second volume—Class—guides the reader in constructing and delivering classes consisting entirely (or almost entirely) of one or more experiential exercises.
Volume Three—Simulations—takes up the possibilities for longer classes and longer exercises.
Volume Four—Examples—provides a host of actual examples of simulations we've used over more than half a century.
At the beginning of our classes, we generally gather the students' hopes for what will happen as a result of the class. (You can read more about this practice in the section called Requirements Gathering.) We haven't figured out how to gather requirements from each reader of a book, but we do offer a class about experiential learning, and from these classes, we've developed some ideas of what most of our students want.
So, what can you hope to gain from reading these volumes? If your hopes for these books is similar, we've made a list of hopes distilled from these classes:
1) Learn practical knowledge about designing experiential exercises.
2) Expand my understanding of what participants experience during experiential exercises.
3) Unlearn things that interfere with effective experiential learning.
4) Help to expand my "big picture" about this topic.
5) Link to other knowledge to help increase my effectiveness.
6) Figure out if students are really learning.
We've used this list to guide us in deciding what to include, and as with any experiential exercise, this book may lead its readers to many additional lessons we never planned for them.
And, of course, a book may be an experience for a reader, but it's not what we're thinking of as an experiential exercise (though a reader may benefit greatly from trying at least some of the exercises described here) In the final analysis, a book about the effectiveness of experiential exercises may seem to be a paradox, but there's a learning there, too.
We are not claiming that experiential learning is the only way to learn. We're not even claiming that experiential exercises always teach anything worthwhile, or that students never take away erroneous or vacuous learnings. We're merely saying that we have found this approach to be one more tool for our teaching repertoire—a tool that has been strikingly effective for us as both teachers and learners. We hope it turns out that way for you, as well.
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