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Experiential Learning

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 3 months ago
Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was born in Oak Park, Illinois and founded client-centered psychotherapy and came to help in the development of the studying of psychotherapeutic products and processes (Oak Park Tourist, 1999). Rogers studied many different subjects and taught at many colleges before becoming concerned with psychology and adult education. Rogers acknowledged two types of learning: cognitive and experiential. Cognitive learning deals with memorization of formulas, multiplication tables, the alphabet, and so on. On the other hand, experiential learning deals with applied understanding that is learning through experience. Rogers belief is that students learn best with experiential learning. With this type of learning, teachers facilitate their students learning by applying the curriculum to life. Also, this learning is said to help the students retain the material more since they are learning and coming up with their ideas and solutions themselves (Drummond, 2003).
            Rogers thought that the role of an educator should be to teach through experiential learning. This included that the educator should set forth a positive learning environment, set forth goals for the students, make an effort to provide learning resources for the students, and while the educator maintains the role model in the classroom he/she must also put forth an empathetic and trustworthy appearance. (Dover). A positive and non intimidating learning environment is key for students to learn, since when a student feels secure, they will be more likely to participate in class. Participation is vital to the success of experiential learning. Therefore, a positive learning environment can encompass a teacher setting rules for their classroom that state how students will behave, posters on the walls that can make the room feel less like a classroom, and a teacher needs to be down-to-earth and facilitate their students learning. Providing resources for students is also very important. There are many programs available to students on computers. For geometry there is a program called Geometer’s Sketchpad that makes geometry fun, creative, and understandable. Not only are computers a good resource, but also books are a good resource that should be available. Some students enjoy writing on the board in their classroom. When assigning work, making these resources available could really change the way students learn and change their attitude about learning. 
            Rogers also believed that the educator must be genuine in order to be effective. Students can relate to and have a relationship with the educator if he/she is a real person. Along with genuineness, comes rewarding the learner for their opinions and caring about those opinions. Trust is also an important part of the positive learning environment. When a student feels comfortable and trusts the educator, then the student feels that he/she can communicate with the educator and therefore can more effectively learn. The teacher must also have an empathetic understanding of the students. This helps the teacher to be aware that every student is different and therefore their reactions are going to be different. Rogers also believed that students feel more enthusiastic when they are understood and not just tested and judged, yet understood for their own independent views and not just everyone else’s, including the teachers’, views. (Smith, 2007).
            Teachers today can utilize Rogers’s theory on education. Instead of teaching straight from the book or using lecture, teachers can incorporate activities. Putting students in groups to recap the novel they have read to bring in different opinions and reactions from the text, bringing in different sized circles and have the students measure the different diameters and circumferences and compare them to come up with the fact that the circumference is twice the diameter by themselves. Educators need to become more creative and facilitate student’s different ways of learning.
            Rogers view is that educators can only assist in learning and that students learn best when learning through experience and have the freedom to do so. When Rogers taught, he thought of himself as a facilitator and did not teach directly, like so many educators do today. 
Works Cited
Dover, Kimeiko Hotta. Experiental Learning. Retrieved January 18, 2008, from
About.com. Website:
Drummond, Carl N. (2003) Carl Rogers and the Origin of Experiential Learning.
Retrieved January 1, 2009, from BNET.com. Website:
Oak Park Tourist. (1999) Carl Rogers Where No Psychologist Went Before. Retrieved
January 18, 2008. Website: http://www.oprf.com/Rogers/.htm
Smith, M.K. (2007) Carl Rogers and informal education. Retrieved January 18, 2008,
from the encyclopedia of informal education. Website:


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