1st Edition

Beyond Learning by Doing
Theoretical Currents in Experiential Education

ISBN 9780415882088
Published August 18, 2011 by Routledge
130 Pages

USD $52.95

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Book Description

What is experiential education? What are its theoretical roots? Where does this approach come from? Offering a fresh and distinctive take, this book is about going beyond "learning by doing" through an exploration of its underlying theoretical currents.

As an increasingly popular pedagogical approach, experiential education encompasses a variety of curriculum projects from outdoor and environmental education to service learning and place-based education. While each of these sub-fields has its own history and particular approach, they draw from the same progressive intellectual taproot. Each, in its own way, evokes the power of "learning by doing" and "direct experience" in the educational process. By unpacking the assumed homogeneity in these terms to reveal the underlying diversity of perspectives inherent in their usage, this book allows readers to see how the approaches connect to larger conversations and histories in education and social theory, placing experiential education in social and historical context.

Table of Contents


1: Introduction: The River of Experience

2: Headwaters: From Experience to Experiential Education

3: Experience and the Individual: The Romantic Current

4: Experience and the Social: The Pragmatist Current  

5: Experience and the Political: The Critical Current

6: Experience and the Market: The Normative Current 

7: Experience and Democracy: The Hopeful Current


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Jay W. Roberts is Associate Professor of Education and Environmental Studies, Earlham College.

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Author - Jay W.  Roberts

Jay W. Roberts

Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs, Earlham College
Richmond, IN, USA

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"This book does make a significant contribution to experiential education and it will make an invaluable resource for those researching and working in experiential education. Roberts has not only identified many currents where more work needs to be done if we wish to think differently about experiential education but he has put politics and ethics at the forefront of that work, something that is sorely needed in this field."
—Australian Journal of Outdoor Education