Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.
There are various ways to gather evidence of learning from students. Different tools are being used in order to assess a student’s learning outcome like written tests and recitations among others.
I firmly believe that quantitative assessment tools such as these quizzes and examinations are not sufficient evidence to declare that a certain student has indeed learned the subject matter. There is something beyond just answering questions based on facts taught in a subject. Examinations do not tell if the student has really understood the lesson or are able to apply it in reality.
This made me look at qualitative approaches in assessing students’ learning and I stumbled upon this learning theory that somehow made an impact in me as a student and a teacher. This is David Kolb’s Theory on Experiential Learning.
I first read about his work here in Simply Psychology: http://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html
I searched for further discussions, reviews and/or commentaries on Kolb’s work on Experiential Learning and found this: http://infed.org/mobi/david-a-kolb-on-experiential-learning/
A simple practical application of this theory would be to have students experience their lessons. They could plant seeds and watch the gradual growth of the plant and learn about plant growth. They could connect wires, batteries and light bulbs to understand electric circuits and current. There are many ways to teach students outside the four walls of the classroom. Experience is one of these which encourages retention and understanding among learners.