Education for Health in the Context of Experiential Pedagogy
The research aims to analyze the perception of the pre-university opinion of the teachers (from primary school, secondary school and high school) teaching “Education for Health” regarding the importance of the model based on experiential learning - Kolb`s model - within the discipline’s didactics. The objectives of the research were: to measure the importance level of using the Kolb`s model in the didactics of “Education for Health”; to measure the teachers’ satisfaction level regarding the use of the Kolb`s model at the didactic of “Education for Health”. The methodology we used during the research was based on Delphy technique (the method of the expert group) and for analyzing and interpreting the results was used a bi-dimensional matrix Nice & Gaps type. The research reveal the fact that within the discipline Education for Health the valorization of experiential pedagogy by means of Kolb`s model is identified as a model of best educational practices which successfully support the cultivation and consolidation of general human values, educational and social values. The paper presents conclusions concerning the limits and implementation possibilities of the didactic strategies derived from the experiential pedagogy for the research group. The research report displays also the differences of perception regarding the importance and satisfaction degree (concomitantly approached) between the two main groups of trainees: teachers from rural schools compared to teachers from urban areas.
Keywords: Educationhealthdidactic competenceexperiential pedagogy
Many researchers were concerned to identify explanations for the correlation of different
structures of learning. After Thorpe & Schmuller (cited in Neacsu, 2015, p. 51) “learning must start with
setting a goal and has a neurophysiological basis; learning is strongly influenced by emotional states
arising from situations and conditions present in the deployment of the learning process; learning is more
effective in going action”.
Experiential learning theory, perfected by Kolb, reveals that learning process should be seen in
terms of individual process of adaptation to the environment and acquisition of knowledge through
adaptation and experimentation. From Kolb`s perspective is considered that the learning through
experience is a determinant of human development, and more, critical to the effectiveness of activities
carried out by each individual. Experiential learning is based on individual experience and appears as a
response to memory-based learning and reproduction of information. But must be done a clear distinction
between “experiential learning” and ,,experiential education". The philosophy of experiential learning,
draws attention on aspects of individual learning. Experiential Education focuses aspects of purpose and
objectives of education, the relationship between student and teacher, teaching aids fund distribution in
the learning process, the importance of acquiring specific skills sets necessary for normal social
functioning. Discipline Health Education, with subdomain Healthy Food within the school curriculum
implemented in Romania, may call for the most part in the educational process, methods and means
suitable in experimental teaching context.
Kolb's experiential learning model is a four-stroke model, which describes itself thus: concrete
experience, reflective observation, conceptualization, active experimentation. David Kolb (1984),
considers that to be learning, a student must: want to play an active role in the experience; be able to
reflect on the experience; use knowledge for conceptualizing experience; possess decision-making skills
and problem solving so they can use new ideas derived from experience. In Jennifer A. Moon`s
conception (2004, pp.71-79) experiential learning involves: reflective learning, learning as a result of the
actions inherent in experiential learning; learning from feedback. This model can determine changes in
judgment upon the object of learning, in feelings or attitudes to the subject experienced, can influence
decision-making in relation to reality. In this model of learning an important role is played by stimulation
and encouraging the student to get involved in concrete ways in the experienced subject and to reflect on
the results. In this way, the knowledge acquired is treated thoroughly and is long lasting. The rhetoric of
this learning process focuses on the following sets of questions: ,,Have you noticed? Why was this so? Is
this happing in real live…? Why….? How can you use it ....?”. These questions facilitate deepening
learning within the group.
On the basis of practical experience are perception and reflection. How we see the reflection?
The teacher can ask questions such as “what was good?, what was not good?”. Subsequently, the
collected answers can be transposed in theory, if experience confirms. From this body of ideas can be
born hypotheses that are tested in practice by experimentation. Ultimately, this results in a new
experience. The advantage of the model is that it serves the areas of non-formal and informal learning.
Paper Theoretical Foundation
The research report ,,Know How 2 learn” surprise both explanations on dimensions of Kolb`s
cycle and on personality typologies. These are identified and described due to the dominance of a certain
type of behavior manifest in certain phases/stages of the learning process. The steps are: concrete
experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization and active experimentation. (Kolb, 2000).
The stages are describes as follows:
In this case, the person prefers this style of learning to treat each situation as a unique case, learning best
from specific examples. This person makes the most discussions and reactions of others.
careful observation in the thinking process and prefers learning situations such as lectures, enabling it to
assume the role of objective observer and neutral.
approach and conceptual learning. The person with this learning style relies on logical reasoning and
rational evaluation, he/she is object-oriented and learns best in situations that are impersonal and
managed by an authority where the emphasis is on theory and systematic analysis.
indicates an active approach to learning type, action-oriented and based on experimentation.
The person that has this learning style learns best when they can engage in activities such as
projects, homework, or small group discussions. Dislike passive learning situations such as lectures, for
According to Kolb (1984), learning styles are guidelines adaptive of the individual. In the learning
model based on Kolb`s model, designing discipline teaching for Health Education can be described in the
following steps: (1) achievement motivation activity; (2) learning experience
(intuition/perception/discovery information; training in practical/concrete form); (3) reflection / analysis
on experience; (4) conceptualization of experience / abstraction; (5) practical applications / validation /
improvement of conceptualized model .
Every step of the design activity knows didactic elements of specificity but is not detached from
the learning model based on actual experience. Thus, in the stage on achievement motivation activity, the
teacher should take into account “student`s assertion impulse” to achieve a maximum level of students'
motivation to participate in the lesson. In this case it can be suggested several strategies: teacher arouses
students' interest towards the lesson introduction to the subject based on questioning in relation to a life
situation learning subject (Who? What? How? Why?. ..). The questions focus on the lesson topic. Also
can be imagined ice-breaking strategies with motivation role. Successive questions technique generates a
cognitive process of request in students. Satisfied curiosity leads to feeling of pleasure which will further
contribute to the achievement of learning. Ausubel &Robinson (1981, p. 447) considers that “guiding
motivation in the classroom is more than an art”. All students are participating in the lesson this time.
The atmosphere in the classroom at this stage should be a warm, affectionate impregnated yet secured.
The success or failure in learning depends on this stage. The student must realize their own learning
experience. Methods and techniques specific to this stage are the dialogue, brainstorming, role play,
demonstration, etc. Also, these teaching methods could be used in the other stages.
In the stage ,,learning experience/intuition/ discovery information; training in practical / concrete
form" the students are confronting with objective reality, they are offered specific examples of analyzed
subject. At this stage all student`s responses are valued based on the individual experiences. Also, in this
stage, the learning style is active. As methodological suggestions are Phillips 66 method, problem-solving
method, SINECTICA, the mosaic method etc. In this second stage of the Kolb's cycle we identify a
reflective learning style, where students focus on theoretical issues, identification and exploitation of
possible results. Teaching strategies that can be used are deductive and analogical. Teaching method most
commonly used is the observation (systematic, independent).
Conceptualization stage is the stage of the learning experience in which students are reasoning and
find explanation in connection with the subject of learning. It is time of ,,theorist” type of personality,
who in the broad meaning of Kolb's cycle corresponds to the stage of learning generalization. Learning
situations are managed by the teacher.
The step “practical applications/validate or improve the conceptualized model” is based on
different aspects of the object learning experience students had before. Students are oriented towards
achieving learning products. At this stage one can imagine a lot of learning products: from reports,
essays, projects to actions objectified in concrete behaviors in social reality. Kolb's model is a model
approved by the digital generation, permanently concerned with the practical dimension of learning.
Health Education topics is suitable for teaching strategies that fully capitalize experiential
learning. Designing the learning contents must subordinate to the curricular perspective assumed at
educational level. In this way, depending on certain skills-training strategies, the informational contents
gain an instrumental, but also an axiological character. “That means, in the extent that these skills are
related to the educational finalities that are pursued in the learning system and learning process, that the
new paradigmatic openings legitimize the necessity of a reevaluation in terms of curriculum design.” (Esi,
Posteucă, 2014, p. 55)
The research aims to analyze the perception of the pre-university teachers' opinion (primary,
secondary and high school) who teach "Education for Health" regarding the importance of the model
based on experiential learning - Kolb model - within the discipline's didactics. The research objectives
were: to measure the importance level of using the Kolb model in the didactics of “Education for Health”;
to measure the teachers' satisfaction level regarding the use of the Kolb model in teaching of “Education
for Health”. The methodology we used during the research based on Delphy technique (the method of the
expert group) and for analyzing and interpreting the results was used a bi-dimensional matrix Nice &
Gaps type. The target group was represented by the teachers who teach Health Education in the primary
and lower secondary level and who use teaching strategies based on experiential learning model. Target
group distribution was as follows (Fig.1):
It was found that most teachers who adopt this model are urban teaching at both levels. This is
explained in the context of access to educational resources that allow teachers the organize lessons
properly. Measurement of importance perceived by teachers on the importance of using experiential
pedagogy was done through a self-administered questionnaire using a Likert-type scales in seven steps.
DOI: 10.15405/epsbs.2017.05.02.191 Corresponding Author:Gabriela Alina Anghel Selection and peer-review under responsibility of the Organizing Committee of the conference eISSN: 2357-1330
Measuring levels expresses the mark given on a scale of 1 to 7 for each strategy used and identified in the
analysis of curriculum documents and interviews with teachers. It was analyzed the positioning of
teaching strategies according to their importance. Teaching strategies analyzed were drawn from the
design of instructional projects. These are strategies heuristic, focusing on the subject of the lesson,
strategies of manipulation where the teacher gives students the opportunity to work with physical objects
(draw or build something), strategies based on media learning (text, use virtual instrumentation,
appliances laboratory, etc.), the assessment strategies that change frequency, scope and level of cognitive
assessment (granting immediate feedback and exploratory use of diagnostic tests, formative) enrichment
strategy based on context (making the connection between knowledge and previous experiences or
engaging pupils' interest in learning colleagues).
Analysis and Interpretation of the Results
According to teachers, the scores awarded to these types of strategies depending on the importance
(Fig.2) and satisfaction (Fig. 3) in relation to learning outcomes is distributed as shown below:
The above figures show that all types of teaching strategies are found in experiential model
pedagogy. This demonstrates once more the importance that teachers are aware of the importance of
using active teaching strategies for each moment of the lesson. It appears that both teachers in urban and
in rural areas considered that enrichment context based strategies are being important and having the level
of satisfaction increased the strategies (this strategy involves making the connection between knowledge
and past experiences or engaging pupils' interest in learning colleagues). This demonstrates that in the
context of “Health Education - Healthy food” discipline, experiential pedagogy register a success rate at
educational process level. Active engagement of the student in the teaching process stimulates students'
interest in relation to assimilate new knowledge and increase learning performance. Data obtained
through interviews show that teachers believe that exposing students to a new context-based learning
through experience accumulation of new knowledge help increase learning. With a relatively low score
are positioned investigation based strategies. This is justified given that certain didactic contents invite
both teachers and students to access additional material resources to ensure success in learning. On the
other hand, this strategy involves a supplementary effort of both parties to the educational process. It
signaled the need for supplementary training of teachers regarding acquisition of new knowledge in the
field of nutritional health. Teachers consider that in today`s context of progress in medicine and food
technology, updating knowledge in the field is identified as a goal of sustainable education. In this
context, both the scores for satisfaction and importance, given to investigation based strategies are
different (for teachers in urban areas and for rural teachers). In terms of importance, the score is higher in
teachers from urban areas compared to the rural areas. They feel more acutely the need to supplement
informational luggage. Explanation lies in the fact that urban areas are registered an increased rate of
consumption of processed foods and better access to their acquisition also increased. Also, incidence of
obesity in children is higher in urban areas than in rural. These aspects contribute to increasing awareness
of the role that should be played by teachers in education on healthy eating.
The fact that the investigational strategies are important, but have a low score of satisfaction
regarding their use in class, lead us to the following conclusion: teachers should be well trained /
informed on new developments in food processing so later they will be able to guide the correct design of
investigational strategies. They subsequently have to mobilize students in educational approaches of
investigative type, required for the accumulation of knowledge needed to develop healthy eating
behaviors. According to respondents, the survey based teaching strategies recorded a high score on the
importance of using them in the educational process. This suggests that effective learning in the context
presented is justified through the actions of analyzing students' representations in relation to healthy
eating habits, considering cultural and social factors. In this perspective, teaching strategies based on
obtaining information on the perception of healthy nutrition are absolutely relevant: there are similar
scores for importance and satisfaction regarding the teaching strategy based on the survey technique in
both teachers in rural areas and urban teachers. Teaching strategies based on the use of different materials
for teaching are considered equally important with a short increased level for the satisfaction in relation to
the educational process. This demonstrates that transposition of the students in a learning environment
based on direct experimentation stimulate their interest in the subject learning and active participation in
the lesson. (Fig 4)
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