Experiential Learning

“I hear and forget.  I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”     Confucius

Stated most cessinctly, this is experiential learning.  Equine guided learning is a whole body-whole mind experience that requires you connect with horses, engage in activities with them and come away understanding something significant about yourself.  Here’s why.

Experiential learning involves….

  • willing participants
  • thinking
  • feeling
  • doing
  • knowledge processing gained from active involvement

” It has the quality of personal involvement — the whole person in both feeling and cognitive aspects of being in the learning event.”        Carl Rogers


Ten Elements of Experiential Learning
excerpts taken from The Wilderness Way Center for Experiential Learning

1. Experiential learning provides a common and yet novel experience where all participants are equal in their knowledge about the tasks and projects that will confront them. A unique set of projects and situations requires people to draw upon genuine process skills as opposed to just functional ones.

2. Participants are interacting in close proximity while working on new and unfamiliar challenges. The communication, collaboration and effort that are required to meet these challenges develops relationships quickly.

3. The unfamiliarity of the challenges and problems places people in a state of disequilibrium or disorder. They cannot easily stand behind their normal status, roles and defenses. Prior experience isn’t as relevant in this environment. This can allow emphasis to be placed upon both task and process related themes as the client has to organize him/herself around the challenge.

4. In the instability or disequilibrium context, the clients project their problem-solving skills, project management ability and leadership style onto the experience. The experience provides a unique opportunity to catch participants doing what they typically do. The learning arising from this is profound and revealing. The window into their process provides unlimited information or data to shape their Experiential based learning.

5. In the “experiential learning laboratory,” as the projections and simulations shed light on the client’s process, the client is asked to step back and evaluate his/her performance. The review is about themselves, their leadership, problem solving skills, work skills, communication skills and managing change.  The intensity with which these issues can arise, and then be discussed in this environment, is superior to that which normally occurs within the the client’s lifestyle.

6.  Clients are able to experience chaos, disorder, crisis and changing requirements for success in a safe environment where the consequences for failure are limited.  The client can develop strategies and best practices for managing these issues both in the environment and in their personal/professional life.

7.  Experiential learning is an anchor for cognitive material.  Participants have a kinesthetic imprint or whole body learning of cognitive principles because the learning is graphic as it involves physical, mental, and behavior dimensions.

8.  The experience provides a common language, experience and story, which can be related to either a work/personal lifestyle environment.  The experience can provide a short cut in communicating a shared vision very quickly.  The experience is stored in a way that is able to permit participants to see themselves and their family, friends or associates in a new light.  The experience (stories attached thereto) can serve as a catalyst for continuing the theme after the experience.

9.  The experience allows participants to take new risks, try on new roles and make mistakes with no danger or cost.  Risks are naturally perceived rather than actual.

10.  The client challenges and activities are designed to include a variety of elements that will challenge a range of client role skills.  In other words, input from all client members will be required to produce outcomes from projects specifically designed not to suit just one client role or behavior.