Guided Experience: Alternative to the Standard Model of Education

“The Standard Model” of education is a theme that has bee developed on this blog. See these posts:

This posts continues the theme with an excerpt addressing an another alternative:

Research focusing on learning in informal situations (Lemke, Lecusay, Cole, & Michalchik, 2015) is extending pedagogical knowledge to recognize the role of the learners in the process. Rogoff (1990) described guided participation as a method of informal learning that started with highly-scaffolded modeling and demonstration by mentors early in the experience, but learners assume increasing responsibility for planning, undertaking, and judging the learning products as they develop greater expertise. Caine and Caine (2011) proposed guided experience as a pedagogy that captures the nature of learning that occurs in natural environments, which follows the perception/ action cycle. The perception/ action cycle posits learning is the continuous process of recognizing a situation, interpreting it according to what it is already known, acting, and then adjusting further perceptions according to feedback after acting. Guided experiences are based on three elements:

  • Relaxed alertness which find the learners motivated and prepared to learn in a stress-free, but high-expectation, environment.
  • A complex experience which finds the learners acting in the same manner as experts rather than learning about what experts know.
  • Active processing experience which finds the learners thinking about and making sense of their experiences.

Digital media is also presented as more amenable to guided experience than print. Caine and Caine (2011) even suggest that “technology often plays havoc” with pedagogy designed to transmit knowledge as it “includes student decision making, applying creative solutions, to complex and real-life problems, and negotiating with peers and experts” (p. 20). Because more channels of communication, including body language and other movements are possible with video compared to text, the nature of the learning that can occur is different when using video media.


Caine, R. N., & Caine, G. (2011). Natural learning for a connected world: Education, technology, and the human brain. New York: Teachers College.

Lemke, J. L., Lecusay, R., Cole, M., & Michalchik, V. (2015). Documenting and assessing learning in informal and media-rich environments. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: cognitive development in social context. New York: Oxford University Press.