Benefits of Experiential Learning
9 months later, it is really hard to draw a conclusion on my Hult Experience. I’ve gone through all of the phases, from euphoria and enthusiasm to criticism and disappointment. I guess it is a standard path for someone who moves from the comfort zone and tries something new. It was a giant leap, which is something I knew and was prepared for but, back in Serbia, it was hard to anticipate how giant it would be.
Blogged by Hult MIM candidate Nebojsa Radovic for MyStudiesAtHult.com.
50 shades of different
Weeks later you realize that the US is not always what you see in the movies. Apart from the scenery, everything else is different. Language, culture, climate and, of course, education. In my particular case, undergraduate studies meant lots of studying. I had 14 math-related courses, lots of computer science courses and no actual knowledge I could use. I was studying but I wasn’t learning. The learning part happened in extracurricular activities such as AIESEC, or my freelance work. However, a good thing about this approach is that you learn how to distinguish important from less important. Not many people are able to memorize 500+ pages, but still many of them are passing exams. It’s a skill that takes a while to develop but proves to be handy till the rest of our lives.
Hult provided a completely opposite experience. You do study, but you don’t have to memorize huge amounts of information. What you need is to recognize patterns and apply them in real life through projects such as business and marketing plans. The focus is not on remembering but on using the information to solve the problem. Seems logical? Not at the first sight…
The problem with this type of learning lies in the fact students don’t feel any progress is being made. They read, write, present, and don’t feel any smarter than before they came at Hult and spent all the money they didn’t have. This is the part where you start criticizing school and being truly disappointed. I won’t lie to you, it happened to me. But, as usual, it gets better over time.
Meet experiential learning
Experiential learning is the process of making meaning from direct experience, i.e., ”learning from experience”.
Wikipedia might not be the most relevant resource to look for a definition of Experiential learning, but it gives you a picture of what is it all about. Turns out this is pretty similar to what I was referring to while explaining my experience at Hult. Instead of trying to remember what to do, I was simply doing it. Progress happened, but it wasn’t as fast and obvious as I expected. I started as this guy and moved to something that is closer to proper English. My writing improved, and I gained lots of confidence when it comes to presenting in a foreign language. I figured out Chinese people do not like to hug until they get used to it. This list can go on forever and no it would not include the rules of baseball.
What is Hult actually doing, is putting each and every student in a specific, highly international, environment. Students are able to learn from working with people from all around the world. Hence, they are able to experience what it is like to work in a similar environment and what are the challenges they might face in the future. Instead of remembering hundreds of pages of information, they learn to think critically and tackle any business problem with ease.
Continue reading the article in full here.