Door Out Sport GUIDE

Chapter 3

Experiential learning in DOS

Every type of activity which encourages participants to learn through its implementation and in reflections after it is named experiential learning. Shortly, this is what learning by doing means. This is where sport, gamification, field trips, case studies, simulations etc. fit. By David Colb, experiential learning theory works in four stages: concrete learning, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. The first two stages of the cycle involve grasping an experience, the second two focus on transforming an experience.

For experiential learning to become specifically non-formal education (NFE) we need to have the intention to transfer some skills and knowledge, learning objectives clearly set and, after implementation of activity, we need to include time for debriefing and self-reflecting in it. This is what characterizes the learning in NFE. In NFE we looked for the inspiration to develop DOS methodology and this approach is the one we are using for it. The only difference is that for the activity part we are always focusing on outdoor multi-sport activities and build further on them.

There are many reasons why we should try to make DOS a part of different learning processes. Young people should gain new social competences and parallelly work on shifting their physical abilities, obtaining their health and gaining new practical skills that could benefit them.

In learning for and in sport various new knowledge can be accumulated but we need to have the planned learning processes through sport to make the best impact. In order to help young people to get new skills and knowledge this way we need methodology that favorites the usage of sport in combination with NFE methods. We need to train people to implement these activities as well.

When organizing DOS activity to achieve education through sport you should follow several easy steps:

  • decide on the topic you want your participants to learn about or to get the knowledge and skills for,
  • choose your target group and decide on the size of the group you will work with,
  • measure the needed time for the activity,
  • make a list of the needed material for the activity to prepare it in advance,
  • prepare for the steps you will lead your group through, know the exact order and the way how you will give the instructions for the activity. This is what you should agree with your partner facilitator,
  • list all the possible questions for the debriefing after the activity. Remember that the learning is happening after the activity, when participants share about what they experienced and what it made them think or even change in their behavior.

Persons that are responsible for coaching young people should go through additional trainings about the principles of NFE to understand the power of integrating sport activities with NFE for giving new perspectives to young people. Also, NFE trainers should be more informed about the positive impact that sport can have on non-formal education. Young people, as well, should be familiarized with the possibility and the benefits they could gain from this sort of activities and involvement.

The project “Door Out to more Sport for all” is co-funded by the European Union.