One of the goals of Placing Literature has always been to bring people closer to their neighborhoods and the places they know. One of the theories behind the website is experiential learning.
What is experiential learning? It’s a teaching approach that relies on learning in context, or learning where you are. You know how you watch a video to learn something. They you think about, figure out how you would do it, then you try to do it?
When you watch the video, that’s the experience of a concept. Next, you think about it. What did the person do? How did they do it? How did that influence the results? That’s you reorganizing the experience in your brain. Then you think about how YOU would do it. Then you experiment and you get it and it’s yours! Of course…it’s a cycle, so then you think about what you did, why it did or did not turn out like the video and then you know what to change for next time.
In short, it’s learning by doing. As you can see it’s more complex than that. It’s a cycle where you see, try, think about it, learn, transform.
Here’s a figure of what that cycle looks like:
It is really exciting to see that experiential learning is a theory that is becoming a part of the curriculum at all levels of education. For example, place-based education, based on experiential learning, seeks to connect people (of all ages) to the places where they live.
Next week: How experiential learning and Placing Literature are connected.
For more information: