Weekly Writing 1: “Deliberate” experiential learning

Writing Prompt:  In the Benander article, the author contends that “experts negotiate the learning space differently from novices.’ Reflect on your own experiences with that. Compose a reflective essay to describe the differences you’ve observed between novices and experts in your field.

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While I was in high school, I was privileged to hear a speech by the then CEO of the largest bank in India (ICICI Bank). He was being given an award for his outstanding achievements in the field of banking and in his acceptance speech, he highlighted the fact that he was a “deliberate life-long learner’.

Back in high school, his choice of wording didn’t seem very telling to me. But as I moved through more years of formal and informal education and actually began understanding the learning process, it became evident to me that one is always learning through every experience in life. The human mind continually accepts new information and stores it away and learning is a life-long process.

But the word that really stands out from that speech is ‘deliberate’. Being a deliberate life-long learner implies that one is making a conscious effort to teach themselves or to make the effort to learn or re-learn something. By consciously making an effort to learn something new or to re-visit the novice learning process, as was discussed by the Benander (2009) article, one is then able to analyze and understand the process in ways that would otherwise go unnoticed.

I have had formal schooling in two different fields. I have a bachelors degree in journalism and I am now working on my masters degree in education. Professionally, I am the managing editor of the student newspaper at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. I find that when I revisit tenets and basics of journalism with my staff as I try to guide them (many of them being freshman in the journalism department) I am able to consider my own experiences as a novice in the field, not too long ago, and I try to empathize with them more. However, when I myself attend journalism conference by journalists of greater caliber and years more worth of experience, I am floored with how much I want to absorb from them in order to bring back to my own staff.

The author of the article, Benander (2009), highlights that revisiting the novice experience in a different field will give the expert   a renewed sense of understanding for the novice experience. I would have to agree with the premise and conclusions of this article (Benander, 2009) due to the two extremely different perspectives of an expert and a novice. However, I believe that if an expert, revisiting the novice experience in a different field, wishes to achieve a greater understanding of their learning process, they must be “deliberate’ in their efforts and must analyze the process during and after the fact. This I believe is the key to an expert making the most use of experiential learning.

 

References

Benander, R. (2009). Experiential learning in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9(2), 36—41

8 thoughts on “Weekly Writing 1: “Deliberate” experiential learning

  1. Owen

    Tulsi,

    I particularly liked your conclusion, “However, I believe that if an expert, revisiting the novice experience in a different field, wishes to achieve a greater understanding of their learning process, they must be “deliberate” in their efforts and must analyze the process during and after the fact.”

    I also like the word “purposeful” which means essentially the same thing in this context. It can be hard to maintain this deliberate or purposeful approach in the face of overwhelming new information. To be aware of and account for the meta experience at the same time as we are in the moment. At a certain point, the cognitive load gets to be too much and we must focus on what is in front of us… The fisherman’s dilemma comes to mind…”Fish or cut bait”. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing your personal educational and professional experiences.

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  2. kgebauer

    Great point about an expert learner needing to be “deliberate” in their novice learning experience. I like this sentence, “Being a deliberate life-long learner implies that one is making a conscious effort to teach themselves or to make the effort to learn or re-learn something.” Learning is a choice and it needs to be purposeful. We are much more likely to put more effort into learning or relearning something if we know the “why”, which I think is what the revisiting the novice experience is all about. An expert revisiting a novice experience already knows the “why” and hence isn’t struggling with it like a true novice would. The expert learner knows why they are there and hence their learning is deliberate.

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  3. Jenny

    Tulsi,
    I liked your discussion of the “deliberate” lifelong learner. Consciously, reevaluating new information and how you learned it is an important and challenging step to continue growing in one’s field of expertise. I agree that metacognition when in the revisiting the novice state is one of the best uses of experiential learning for an expert. However, I also think that the empathy for one’s students produced from such an experience can also help us revisit the way we teach certain material and produce growth in our area of expertise.

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