A Handbook of Reflective and Experiential Learning: Theory and Practice

By Jennifer A. Moon | Go to book overview

Chapter 8

Exploring experiential learning

The literature

Introduction

Chapters 6 and 7 have attempted to tease out the meaning of reflective learning in order to provide a basis for the more practical approach in later chapters. A similar process will be applied to experiential learning. As with reflective learning, one concern of this book is to consider its relationship to the literature of learning as well as to its own literature (i.e., on experiential learning). A further stage is to consider to what degree reflective and experiential learning refer to the same or similar processes and to what degree they are distinctive. This is complicated by the fact - as will become evident in this chapter - that experiential learning is seen in a number of different ways with different processes therefore being involved. Often it is the allocation of a common term - 'experiential learning' or 'learning from experience' that often seems to be the factor in common between these diverse behaviours. Terminology is discussed below.

As has been mentioned earlier, while the literature on reflection and reflective learning has been well explored in previous books of the author, apart from one chapter in Moon (1999a), the literature on experiential learning has not been treated in the same way. It therefore needs to be treated here in more detail.

The first section of this chapter provides a broad context for the terms 'experiential learning' and 'learning from experience'. The former term tends to focus on the formal learning situations that are the main topic of this book. The next section returns to discussions in earlier chapters on the meaning of experience but now experience is taken in the context of discussions of

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