Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation

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Despite conflicting belief systems and other divisive problems, people can still learn from each other to create new knowledge. The medium is conversation. This challenging new book asserts that business conversations can be seen as social experiences through which we discover new ways of seeing the world, destroying the barriers between us. When this occurs, new knowledge can emerge or be developed.

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How can people learn from their differences, rather than be divided by them? One way is by creating conversational spaces—areas where conversation occurs. The authors show how such spaces are created, maintained, and enhanced, and how they are used to transform different interpretations and perspectives into new common understandings.

With illustrations and case studies, the authors demonstrate the practical value of conversational learning in diverse organizational settings. Emphasis is shifted from techniques that are essentially insensitive to different contexts, attitudes, and beliefs, focusing instead on a theory of learning that is more social and interactive. This remarkable new source of explanatory theory validates an intensely pragmatic way to help organizations get people talking to one another, thereby advancing the well being of the organizations and those within them.

Preface Learning and Conversation by Ann C. Baker, Patricia J. Jensen, and David A. Jensen and David A.

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Baker, et al. Conversation as Experiential Learning by David A. Kolb, Ann C. Baker, and Patricia J. Kolb, et al. This book contains insightful discussions of what conversation is and what it does for the learner. It explores a wide range of challenges for the creation of the kinds of conversations that produce learning. A particularly interesting theme addresses the struggles of students as they learn to deal with the responsibility of creating their own conversations.


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What does one do when students demand teaching? Q Revise your original definition of experiential learning Question 5 so that it includes these elements. What introduced species might be more relevant to use in your country? Experiential learning is often thought of as a learning cycle with experience and reflection being the first two phases. The idea of experiential learning as a cycle was suggested by prominent educationalists such as Jean Piaget, John Dewey and David Kolb.

Identify the four phases in the experiential learning cycle. See some suggested guidelines. Reflection is part of the debriefing process. Debriefing is the name given to what teachers do in class to help students process the information and make generalisations from their experiences.

Question 15 in your learning journal was the beginning of a debriefing on the use of experiential learning as a teaching strategy. For example, it can be played in an open space outside the classroom with students taking on the roles of trees and possums in the first round, and additional roles as the trapper, the poisoner who places baits, and the forester who bands trees in the second round.

What teaching method could you use? Completing the module: Look back through the activities and tasks to check that you have done them all and to change any that you think you can improve now that you have come to the end of the module. Q Identify some skills that you have that could be useful for teaching through experiential approaches. Q Identify some skills that you have that may need to be developed further in order to use experiential approaches effectively. Q What are the distinctive contributions that experiential learning can make to Education for Sustainable Development?

The aim of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is promote and improve the integration of Education for Sustainable Development into the educational strategies and action plans at all levels and sectors of education in all countries. It contains hours divided into 27 modules of professional development for use in pre-service teacher courses as well as the in-service education of teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials.

All Rights Reserved. Experiential learning Introduction Activity 1 Activity 2 Activity 3 Activity 4 Reflection Introduction At the heart of all learning is the way we process our experiences, especially our critical reflections on our experiences.

Experiential Learning

Objectives To appreciate the value of student-centred experiential learning; To analyse the elements of experiential learning; To develop guidelines for teaching through experiential approaches; and To relate experiential learning to education for sustainable futures.

Activities Characteristics of experiential learning The experiential learning process Analysing the experiential learning process Understanding the importance of debriefing Reflection References Baker, A. Silberman, M. Wessels, M. Characteristics of experiential learning Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity. Q2: What did you learn from the experience? Q3: Do you think that you will remember this for a long time?

Why or why not? Reflection Reflection is the key to learning from experience because it consciously focuses our attention on what we have learnt and thus consolidates it.


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  7. The experiential learning process Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity. Learning from Experience I The Possum Picnic game is a simulation or simplification of the impact of possums in the forests of New Zealand. Q6: Describe the damage done to the forest during the game. Q7: What strategies did you learn work best for reducing the rate of forest destruction?

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    Learning from Experience II Forest managers in New Zealand have been working on this problem for many years and have developed a number of strategies to control possums and limit their effects. These include: Placing poison baits to kill possums Setting traps to catch possums Putting a special metallic band around trees to stop possums climbing. Q8: Describe the damage done to the forest by the possums this time. Reflecting on the Learning Experience Reflecting on the game is very important to learning.

    Its value as a teaching strategy. The effects of trying to protect the ecosystem. Effective approaches to sustaining the future of this ecosystem. Q Use the following definition to identify the main elements of experiential learning. Experiential learning is a process that develops knowledge, skills and attitudes based on consciously thinking about an experience.

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    Thus, it involves direct and active personal experience combined with reflection and feedback. Experiential learning is personal and effective in nature, influencing both feelings and emotions as well as enhancing knowledge and skills. Analysing the experiential learning process Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity.

    The experiential learning cycle involves four phases: Experience Engaging in an experience in a particular situation and then observing its effects. Processing the experience Understanding what we did, thought and felt during the experience. Applying Applying the principle or generalisation to a new situation. Q Suggest some guidelines for helping students learn in each of the four phases. Understanding the importance of debriefing Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity.

    Debriefing is an important phase of experiential learning because it helps students to: Learn through reflecting on what they have done; Consolidate their concepts and generalisations about the topic being studied through the process of reflection and with guidance by their teachers; and Apply what they have learnt in new situations. Reflection Begin by opening your learning journal for this activity.

    Q Reflect on experiential learning I was surprised to find that … I really like … I did not like … I want to learn more about … Q To what extent would you like to use experiential learning approaches in your teaching? Q How does experiential learning relate to Education for Sustainable Development?