Experience-based (experiential) learning - American EducationKnowledge acquired by direct observation or participation in an event. A standard element of virtually every element of the primary school curriculum, experienced-based learning diminishes in all but the laboratory sciences as students progress through secondary school and college, where a SUBJECT-CENTERED CURRICULUM, based on lectures, note-taking and textbooks, becomes the basis of most learning.
Experiential education is, however, available at all levels through specialized schools, organized in nonconventional environments such as mountains, forests, deserts, archaeological sites, animal sanctuaries, botanical gardens, scientific observatories, athletic facilities and ships at sea. Experiential education at such specialized institutions can last from several weeks (many are organized as summer camps) to a full semester and even a complete academic year. Some sail-training programs, for example, carry students to foreign countries or for longterm study at sites of interest to marine biologists. Although the focus is always on the study of a specific subject area or, in the case of sports academies, the learning of a specific skill, fullsemester experiential academies for secondary school students usually provide a full curriculum of conventional academic studies. (See also SCIENCE EDUCATION CENTERS.)