What is meant by learning experiences?


What is meant by learning experiences? Explain types of learning experiences. State the merits and limitations of each.

Why are Indirect experiences more useful to the teacher than direct experiences?

Learning occurs when there is an interaction between the situation and the learner. When any situation acts upon the learner, he reacts and modifies his behaviour and this interaction is called learning. Eg. A child touches the flame of a candle, feels a burning sensation and immediately withdraws his hand. He will never touch it again as he has learnt how it feels to get scalded.

The quality of the experience will decide the quality of learning.

Criteria for choosing learning experience –

  1. Directly related to instructional objectives.
  2. Learning experiences should be meaningful and satisfying to the learner.
  3. It should be related to life situations.
  4. It should be appropriate to the maturity level of the learner.
  5. While selecting the experience, availability of time and material should be considered.
  6. Learning experiences should be rich and varied in content.

Centres of Learning

Home, educational institutes, neighbourhood, peer group, playground, mass media, travel, etc. are the various centres of learning.

Types of Learning

Learning experiences can be –

Direct Learning– It is based on first-hand experience wherein one or more of our 5 senses are directly involved. Eg. Riding a bicycle, feeling the softness of cotton.

Merits of Direct Learning–
    1. It is a first-hand experience where we are directly connected to the object, incident, occurrence.
    2. It results in better retention as the pupil is directly participating.
    3. It is the complete form of an experience.
    4. It is exhilarating and gives one a sense of satisfaction as one is personally living the experience.
Demerits of Direct Learning–
    1. It is not possible to always give a direct experience. Eg. Quit India Movement, French Revolution, etc.
    2. First-hand experiences can sometimes be risky or dangerous. Eg. Touching the flame of a candle to gauge heat.
    3. It can be expensive. Eg. Excursion to Mt. Abu to study the folds and faults in rocks.
    4. It can be difficult and tiring at times. Eg. Mountain-climbing.

Indirect or Vicarious Learning– A type of experience through which the learning outcome is acquired without firsthand experience. Eg. Watching others, videos, audio recordings, listening to a story, etc.

Merits of Indirect Learning –
    1. It is useful when it is not possible to experience the learning first-hand. Eg. Video on Volcanoes.
    2. It is a safe method. There is no risk or danger involved.
    3. Indirect experiences like simulation are almost like the real-thing. Eg. Zero gravity simulation for astronauts.
    4. It is easy as the learner has to simply watch or listen.
Demerits of Indirect Learning–
    1. We learn from the direct experience of others and not our own so we cannot experience the same thrill and excitement.
    2. Rate and amount of retention is not as high as that of a direct experience.
    3. It is an incomplete form of experience.
    4. Certain learning cannot be fully understood via vicarious experiences. Eg. Riding a bicycle, knowing the taste of an apple, etc.

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