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Faculty Development: Experiential/ Project Based Learning

Source for your MSU Faculty Development Needs

What is Experiential Learning?

Educational theorist David A. Kolb developed the experiential learning model in the early 1970s.  In his book, Experiential Learning: Experience as the source of learning and development, he defines experiential learning as "the process whereby knowledge is created through transformation of experience. Knowledge results from the combination of grasping and transforming experience" (Kolb 1984, p. 41).

Experiential learning is comprised of 4 main elements:

1.  Concrete experience

2.  Reflective observation

3.  Abstract conceptualization based on those observations and reflections

4.  Active experimentation and testing of the new concepts

This process repeats.  However, learning can begin at any one of the four elements.

The New 9 Learning Style Typology

The original 4 learning style types of experiental learning (Accomodating, Assimilating, Converging, and Diverging) has been refined into a 9 style typology:

1. Initiating

2. Experiencing

3. Imagining

4. Reflecting

5. Analyzing

6. Thinking

7. Deciding

8. Acting

9. Balancing

What is Project Based Learning? (PBL)

Text and image from BIE's Project Based Learning site:

"In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student "voice and choice," rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products & presentations."

The Independent Project

“If you want to build a ship,   
don't drum up people together to collect wood
and don't assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them

to long for the endless immensity of the sea”
                              --Antoine de Saint-Exupery


Additional Resources