Why is experience-based learning important in Education?

The benefits of learning by doing

BAG Innovation
4 min readSep 3, 2021
Photo by Lagos Techie on Unsplash

Experience-based learning is a course of study that allows students to experience the real world, which helps in understanding concepts, thus making them more effective career learners. George Kuh coined the term experience-based learning at Michigan State University. Since then, experience-based learning has been applied across various universities and schools with excellent results. Experience-based academic programs are designed to provide students with practical experience as they progress towards their degree or diploma studies. This experience exposes them to what it is like in the real world through field trips, hands-on activities, and work placements.

Although there seems to be some confusion surrounding the actual definition of experience-based learning, most agree that experience-based learning can be described as a student experience that is constructive, varied, and focused on experience. There exists a distinction between experience-based learning, experience-based education, and experience-based teaching. Experience-based education refers to teaching and training that uses real-life experience as the primary mode of instruction. The experience may consist of live or virtual work examples, simulations, or role-playing situations. An essential component in this endeavor would be mentoring students to provide guidance and assistance during their orientation towards career growth opportunities.

Experience-based learning focuses on gaining knowledge from hands-on activities such as internships or apprenticeships where students get the opportunity to apply what they have learned over the years through academic courses at school or university. One major benefit in the process of experience-based learning programs is their ability to guide students in making decisions on the specific field or area of study they should pursue after they graduate. This is especially helpful to students who are undecided about their career choice. Experience-based education describes this process as an integrated experience within a program at school or university where student experience counts for more than classroom time for receiving credit. The key idea behind experience-based education is that knowledge of past experience may be used both for personal development and professional growth through skill enhancement and competency building.

Another concept called experience-based teaching refers to a method of instruction that uses experience as the primary mode of instruction. In experience-based teaching, students learn what happens when they apply theory in actual situations from real-life examples provided by faculty members. This experience-based teaching enables students to discover links between academic knowledge and practical experience.

The intention of experience-based learning is to allow students to experience the real world so that they can gather and analyze information from their experience. Experience-Based Learning (EBL) can be defined as taking part in activities that allow a student, develop multiple skills such as communication, problem-solving, decision making, etc., which are required at work after graduation. Although there is no specific time frame on how long experience-based learning should take place, it is commonly accepted that EBL should not occur during coursework but rather after coursework has been completed through internships or apprenticeships.

The appeal of experience-based learning is its ability to encourage students to experience what they may encounter in real-world situations in a safe, controlled environment such as an internship. This is particularly appealing to students who have little or no work experience. Experience-based learning provides a foundation for student’s future professional development whether they go on to pursue their current profession, enter another career entirely, or return to school to complete their degree.

Experience-based learning programs offer many benefits, such as the opportunity for students to make decisions about their future career prospects in a safe environment. Allowing students to think independently, practice skills, and develop real-life connections with professionals in various fields will enable them to test out various careers before choosing one they would like to focus on further.

photo by BAG Innovation from bag.rw

At BAG Innovation, we understand that experience-based learning is the future of education in Africa, which is why we have built an experience-based learning platform that allows students to experience firsthand what the real world may look like and helps them make better career decisions. They get to know what companies and recruits are looking for in employees and have a glimpse of what the actual job market looks like.

To conclude, experience-based learning is a valuable experience for students to experience life in the working world, allowing them to discover new skills and abilities that they may have otherwise not discovered without experience-based learning. Institutions from across the globe are beginning to introduce experience-based learning into their curriculum, allowing students to benefit greatly.



BAG Innovation

An EdTech startup in Africa aimed to help African students reach their career goals through a gamified EdTech platform.