I had the honor of sharing the stage with Kali and seeing her speech live after my talk, “The Importance of Being an Unselfish Storyteller.”
Kali’s story started with explaining although she was a psychology major, she didn’t want to only study related topics. Kali had a passion for graphic design, an interest in understanding finance, and wanted to learn about business. Her major didn’t allow her to pursue these other studies because they weren’t part of her required learning.
Sick of the classroom, Kali stumbled on an opportunity that would take her far from that classroom in the Midwest – to Copenhagen, Denmark. A week after first learning about a hands-on learning study program, Kali was booking her travel plans.
“I don’t think anyone could’ve prepared me for the educational experience I was going to have there,” Kali says.
On her first day, Kali entered a class with 5 professors, each experts on the topic they were presenting to students. The students put what they learned into practice and partnered with a major company for a semester-long project. Kali was a psychology major in a room full largely of business majors, but Kali stated that the “silo of majors exploded.”
The experiential style of learning was exactly what Kali was searching for. “I was living it, experiencing it.”
After coming back to the United States, Kali started to look into this method of teaching and learning and why it isn’t practiced in America. To her surprise, the model of experiential learning she had in Denmark is based on an American model of education.
That learning gave her the academic freedom to study business even as a psychology major. It let her experience lessons instead of trying to memorize statistics. She was asked questions by professors who didn’t have the answers and taught to understand that not every answer is black and white. And students were surrounded by experts in specific topics that could teach and guide them instead of having a sole instructor covering topics outside of their area of expertise.
In her research, she started discovering institutions right here in America that teach this way. Kali is now a student of the Experiential Institute in Chicago.
Kali ended her talk by encouraging people to spread the word about experiential education. “Go out today and talk to someone about experiential learning, because like it or not, it is the future of education.”
Don’t Miss Any of the Powerful Stories Told. Here Are All of the Talks from TEDxNormal 2015.