The relationship between experience (through practice) and knowledge (by theory) is becoming increasingly important in contemporary educational research and development. Where educational curricula aim to support students in linking practical experience to their academic knowledge development, experiential learning appears complex to design with high instructional prerequisites that make it difficult to achieve. This article reports the process of redesigning an experiential learning environment throughout iterative design-based research. For reasons of methodological consistency, we first introduce and discuss the mARC instructional design model that identifies three pillars of experiential learning (more Authenticity, Reflection, and Collaboration). We then present three empirical studies of how the implementation of the mARC model affected the quality of learning process and outcomes. The results of our design-based research show that the model offers powerful practical guidelines for experiential learning design. Application of the model: (a) improved students’ academic achievement, (b) helped students to engage with both re- and de-contextualisation of knowledge, and (c) improved reflection processes during learning. The study suggests that experiential learning, aligned with the pillars of mARC model, can successfully support learners in their effort to create knowledge through practical experience.
- Experiential learning
- Instructional design