The Learning Way

Meta-Cognitive Aspects of Experiential Learning

Contemporary research on meta-cognition has reintroduced conscious experience into psychological research on learning and thereby stimulated a fresh look at the works of classical experiential learning scholars who gave experience a central role in the learning process— William James, John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, Carl Rogers and Paulo Freire. We focus particularly on the work of William James whose contributions are foundational for both experiential learning and contemporary research on meta-cognition. This is followed by an analysis of psychological research on meta-cognition and the role it plays in the learning process. Finally, the meta-cognitive model is used to describe how fundamental concepts of ELT— a learning self-identity, the learning spiral, learning style and learning spaces—can guide the meta- cognitive monitoring and control of learning. Meta-cognitive strategies that individuals can use to improve their learning effectiveness are outlined. Learners can chart their path on the learning way by developing their meta-cognitive learning capacities and educators can pave the way by placing learning about learning on the agenda of their educational programs.