learning theory informing this course is experiential learning, also known
as active learning because you participate actively in the learning process
rather than passively receiving knowledge as if you are an empty vessel to
be filled by the instructor. This theory is closely related to discovery
learning, the foundation of most of the writing assignments in
Traditional learning retention rates are 5-10%; Experiential learning retention
rates are 80-90%
An example: On May 24, 2008, at 12:40 PM, Hannah Chesser
sent this email: "Dear Professor, Yesterday I watched the new Indiana
Jones movie . . . . There is one part where Indiana Jones (who is also a
professor) rides a motorcylce through a library . . .. Along the way he skids
into one of his students who then proceeds to ask him an intellectual question,
ignoring the urgency of the situation. Jones then answers the question and
tells the student to get out of the library more often. It's a very comical
scene! And, it reminded me so much of you . . ."
- Experiential learning is considered more meaningful because
while you are participating, you are paying more attention.
it can be dynamic, engaging, and fun.
it allows students to practice roles unfamiliar to them and fully immerse
themselves in experiences that generate authentic knowledge.
it activates both sides of your brain: the heart as well as the
head, emotion as well as reason, nonverbal as well as verbal knowing,
the visual as well as the verbal, intuition as well as logic, holistic
as well as linear thinking, synthesis as well as analysis, metaphor as
well as abstraction, the personal as well as the impersonal, creative
imagination as well as academic thinking, and the playful as well as
it appeals to multiple intelligences: not just the abstract verbal and
the mathematic-logical, but, depending on the circumstances, also
the spatial; the kinesthetic; the musical; the interpersonal; etc.
both sides of the brain and many intelligences are engaged, active involvement
results in processing of information deeper than mere memorization; it
results in "episodic memory," a deeper kind of memory specific
to an event so that if you cannot at first remember the idea or technique
you can reconstruct it from the event.
it makes use of your own personal associations as a basis for remembering
and understanding vs. parroting back the instructor's version of a concept.
 it can be more motivating,
incorporating the pleasures of creating your own environment.
can force you to confront your current ideas about the subject, many
of which may be misconceptions, and reconcile them with what you now
observe to be the case.
 it can make the value of education more obvious
because you begin connecting information
to the "real world."
Where Do We Go From Here?
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