Bringing experiential learning to the front

Experiential learning (making projects) is the core of Innovative Arts class, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. We can do projects all day… but without some mechanism for improving and learning, we hit the ceiling pretty quickly. So less than a week ago, I developed an idea for doing a first/second attempt at a fundamental concept. Then yesterday I realized that groups/teams would give a great context for the culture I am working to instill.

I’ve already started to pilot the first/second attempt idea and it’s going really well! I will not be able to implement all of the ideas right now. So for now, I’ll experiment with the elements that I can implement.

Tonight I want to remind myself about experiential learning and how that fits into my new plan. Here we go!

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is a process through which people develop knowledge, skills, and values from direct experience. The term was first coined by John Dewey, an American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer. Dewey believed that all learning is based on experience and that the best way to learn is to do.

Innovative Arts is going to be a new model of how this can be done and how it can impact the other classes that share IA students.

The Four Elements of Experiential Learning

There are four elements that are essential to experiential learning: active involvement, reflection, feedback, and application.

Active Involvement

Active involvement is the first and most important element of experiential learning. In order for someone to learn from their experiences, they must be actively involved in the process. This means that they must be engaged and interested in what they are doing. Additionally, they should have a clear understanding of what they are trying to achieve.

The beauty of the first/second attempt activities is that it is OK to make a rushed project. We can start it ASAP and the planning and learning come later!


Reflection is the second element of experiential learning. It is important for people to take time to reflect on their experiences in order to learn from them. During reflection, people should ask themselves questions such as: What went well? What could have been done better? What did I learn? How can I apply what I learned in the future?

Reflection is baked into the structure of the teams and the rhythms of the course.


Feedback is the third element of experiential learning. It is important for people to receive feedback on their performance in order to improve their skills and knowledge. Feedback should be given in a constructive and positive manner. Additionally, it should be specific and objective.

This is something that was overhauled… about two weeks ago. We have yet to use the resources that I created so we will have to see how that goes. The plan is to make it a much more regular part of class.


Application is the fourth and final element of experiential learning. Once someone has reflected on their experiences and received feedback, they should apply what they have learned in order to improve their performance in the future. This may involve making changes to their methods or approach

The beauty of all of this? Kids can immediately apply the learning in their own projects and ambitions.

I had a conversation today about how ambitious it was to name the course ‘Innovative Arts’. It finally feels like we will finally be living up to the name very soon!

A new vision for education

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