This chapter presents a review of literature under the following sub-heading

a.        Conceptual Framework
i.          Experiential Learning and Teaching
ii.         Principles of analogy or assimilation
iii.       Principles of mental set
iv.        Retention of learning
v.         Transfer of learning
vi.        Life skill development
vii.      Gender sensitivity
viii.   The experiential learning models and learning styles

b.        Theoretical Framework
i.         John Dewey theory of experience
ii.        Piagetian theory of cogitative development
iii.       Kurt Lewin’s cognitive field theory.                                      
iv.       Theories of transfer                                                         

Related Empirical Studies
Summary of Literature Review
Conceptual Framework
Experiential Learning    

The term experiential learning in the context of this work can be taken to be a process of human cognition (Fernwick 2000). The root of the word cognition in fact means to learn. Experiential learning is at the core of many teaching and learning strategies. The theory of experiential learning emphasizes the central role of experience in learning process. Thus, experiential is used in this context to differentiate learning theory from both cognitive learning and behavioural learning theories, which tend to emphasize cognition over affect, and behavioural learning theories that deny any role of subjective experiences in the learning process (Kolb Boyatzis and Mainemelis 2000) Experiential learning and teaching approach are anchored on the principles that:

(a)       Significant learning takes place if the subject matter is relevant to the present interest of the pupils.
(b)       Learning which is threatening to the self (E.g new skills, attitudes, or perspectives) are more easily assimilated when external threats are at minimum.
(c)       Learning proceeds faster when the threat to self is low.
(d)       Self-initiated learning is the most lasting and pervasive (Rogers 1968; 3). The implication of the above principles in the teaching and learning process is that all human beings have a natural propensity to learn, the role of the teacher is to facilitate such learning. This the teacher could do through.

(1)       Setting a conducive climate for learning
(2)       Clarifying the purpose of the learning
(3)       Organizing and making available learning resources
(4)       Balancing intellectual and emotional components of learning
(5)       Sharing feelings and thoughts with learners but not dominating (Rogers, 1968:1).

Against this backdrop, Rogers (1968:1) affirmed that learning is facilitated when:

(i)   Pupils participate completely in the learning process and have control over its direction and nature.
(ii)   It is primarily based upon direct confrontation with practical, social, personal or research problems.
(iii)  Self-evaluation is the principal method of assessing progress or success. Roger however emphasized the importance of learning to learn and openness to change.

            In line with the above, Fenwick (2000:4) noted that the experiential learning “places the individual learner as a central actor in the drama of personal meaning making.” As a central actor, the teacher facilitates the learner to reflect on live experiences, such as personal manipulation of learning materials, its interpretations and then generalizes these experiences to form mental structure.

            Onwuka (1981:107) opined “through active practice, learners’ movement in the case of psychomotor activities become skillful. At the same time their knowledge grows and they also develop certain activities”. Onwuka further maintained that the skills, the knowledge and attitudes so acquired go together. They are inseparable since skill is necessary to the growth of knowledge, the learner must continually undertake some activities in connection with the subject matter in school. Teacher’s role as a facilitator is to assist his teaching by encouraging activities on the part of the pupils after all, there is hardly a subject without abundant opportunity for practice today in school.    

            Experiential teaching originated from empiricists theory of knowledge. Empiricism on the other hand originated from the word experience, which is English translation of experiential in Latin. Experiential is Latin translation of emperia in Greek. The basic thesis of empiricism is that legitimate human knowledge arises from what is provided to the mind by the senses, or by introspective awareness through experience. The statement that experience is the source of knowledge means that knowledge depends ultimately on the use of the senses and what is discovered through them. It seems an interesting parallel to note that just as the term “experience” is ultimately derived from the term empiricism, empiricists maintain that all knowledge is derived from experience-sense-experience (Niel, 2008:)

            Empiricism is the theory that all knowledge stems from sense-experience and internal mental experience-such as emotion and self-reflections. The empiricist draws his rules of practice not from theory but from close observations and experiments, emphasizing inductive rather than deductive process of thought (Ward, 2008). For empiricists, facts precede theories and it is possible for one to be an impartial objective observer of facts. Empiricists claim that no one could have knowledge of the world unless he had experience and could reason, but this does not mean that either experience or reason by themselves could provide a kind of absolute certainty about the world (Neil, 2008)

            In experiential teaching method, the processes make learners active, engaging in confusion, complexity and dealing with ambiguities which are important parts of the learning process. The learning outcomes of this approach include; cognitive elements resulting in an increased awareness, emotional elements producing change attitudes or feelings and behavioural elements which involve changed inter-personal competencies (Schien and Bennis, 1965). Those basic features or attributes that are inbuilt n experiential learning make it differ from other learning methods, such as expository learning. In expository learning, the entire content of what is to be learned is presented in its final form. The learner is passive, reproducing the learning that has been identified by the teacher (Ausebel; 1968). The experiential teaching method is clearly opposed to Akinbobola (2009:3) assertion that “the mode of delivery of physics lesson at senior secondary school level in Nigeria is by expository”. In it, the teacher delivers preplanned lesson to the students with or without the use of instructional materials. The teachers in basic schools are also guilty of the same ugly practice. Through the use of expository method, the teacher’s roles are to give information or knowledge transmission as the main goal. But in experiential education, the focus is on the transactive process between teachers and learners (Fenwick 2000).
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