Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


There is a need to integrate the experiences that take place through in-school activities and the exper snces that take place elsewhere in orde' to make the si nts1 learning more educative. This can be accomplished through the velopment and implementation of experiential learning programs within the school setting.

This study was undertaken to develop a philosophical and theoretical foundation for experiential learning programs and to present postulates for the development and implementation of experiential learning programs in school settings. The philosophical and theoretical foundation has been developed in the theories of learning and experience of John Dewey. The postxilates evolved from the study of the writings of John Dewey and a review of experience-based programs.

John Dewey advocated an education based on experience but did not view ail experiences as educative. An educative experience is one in which there is continuity, interaction, purpose, and reflection. In order to provide the conditions for educative experiences, the educator must know the student, his needs, interests, capacities, and past experiences. The. educator should guide the student in his reorganizing or reconstructing of experiences. The educator must select the conditions for experiences based on the student’s past experiences, capacities- needs, and interests and with consideration of future experiences.

Dewey believed that the student should be the starting point in ’earning. If the objective conditions are arranged meaningfully, the student will feel a need or desire to obtain the subject-matter. The student will seek the information that, has relevance to his experiences.

An education of experience is an active education. The activity is purposeful* The student's "impulsion" originates from a need. The need can originate because of internal conditions> external conditions or the relationship of the two. As the "impulsion" develops, it confronts obstacles in the environment. This confrontation forces the "impulsion" to search for its meaning or significance. This search takes place through inquiry and reflection. The educator provides guidance and direction during the inquiry arid reflection.

During an education of experience, the student, is stimulated to interact with the environment. The environment or external conditions are arranged so that growth of the student is possible and so that this growth creates conditions for further growth.

When education is based on a philosophy of experience, learning is experiencing. Education is then "... a process of living and not a preparation for life."

The postulates presented evolved from the study of John Dewey's theories of learning and. experience and a review of experience-based programs. The postulates were not intended as a curriculum for an experiential learning program.. These postulates provide? direction for the development and implementation of experiential learning programs in school settings. The postulates, were developed from the perspective of a classroom teacher. The postulates are:

1. The community can be a valueable resource for educative experiences.

2. T'he experiences of the student should he educative.

3. Subject-matter should be the medium of learning rather than the object of learning.

4. The teacher should direct through indirection.

5. A positive environment should be provided.

6. Planning is necessary for success in an experiential learning program.

7. Activity should be utilized as a means of progression rather than as an end in itself.

8. An experiential learning program should provide opportunities for group as well as individual experiences.

9. An experiential learning program should provide opportunities for experiences In the areas of adventure, creativity, service, practical skills, and logical inquiry.