4-H Youth Development relies heavily upon the five steps of the
experiential learning model
model requires that the “teacher/leader” be very clear about the skill or concept targeted and that
the experience and the processing questions are designed to support that learner goal. The
experiential learning process engages the learners in all phases of the activity, resulting in the ability
to generalize this learning to new situations.
Exploring the Experiential Learning Model 4-H has adopted a process that allows youth to
learn through a carefully planned “doing” experience that is followed by leader led discussion using purposeful questions. The experiential learning model by Kolb (1984) and modified by 4-H includes five specific steps:
1. Participant(s) experience the activity–perform or do it.
2. Participant(s) share the experience by describing what happened.
3. Participant(s) process the experience to determine what was most important and identify common themes.
4. Participant(s) generalize from the experience and relate it to their daily lives.
5. Participant(s) apply what they learned to a new situation.
When this model is used, youth both experience and process the activity. They learn from thoughts
and ideas about the experience. Each step contributes to their learning. Providing an experience alone does not create experiential learning. Experiences lead to learning if the participant understands what happened, sees patterns of observations, generalizes from those observations and understands how to use the generalization again in a new situation.