Example of an activity that follows the Experiential Learning Cycle

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Fashion Design activity:


This Experiential Learning Activity helps Fashion Design students to consider the implications of where garmets are manufactured.  It is based on a basic version of the experiential learning cycle: Plan - Do - Review.  An experiential learning activity must have at least these three parts to be an effective experiential learning activity as opposite to just an activity.


The facilitator chooses a venue or section of a shopping centre in which to take the students. This part of the planning could easily be given to the students. The facilitator (or students) write a number of criteria or investigative questions to be met during the field trip. These criteria/questions may be along the lines of:

  • Choose an outfit from a fashion store.
  • Record what each garmet is, where each of them is made and designed and what store is it from.
  • Record the type of material the garmets are made from and work out or have a guess at the country of origin of the materials.
  • Ask the shop assistant or manager who makes the garmets, what they are paid and what their working conditions are.
  • Record the cost of each item

Students may decide or be requested to develop a spreadsheet to record this information before they go to the shopping centre.


Students visit the mall as a class and are encouraged to spread themselves around the mall in order not to burden only a few stores. Students are given a set amount of time to gather the information or as much of it as they are able.

Reflection:This could be done in the mall directly after the activity or back in the classroom, ideally directly after the activity.

What was the students experience of the activity? How were they responded to? How did the feel about asking the questions and receiving the responses the received?

So what was the activity all about? What was the point in doing it? What information was often missing and what questions could not be answered?  What information surprised the students?  What did the students learn from the activity?  What are the implications of this information on the consumer, retailer, manufacturers, designer, economic system, sustainability (interconnectedness of the environmental, social and economic factors) of our world?  What parts of this learning do not contribute to a sustainable future?  What do? 

Now what are we going to do with this learning?  How can we make a difference to the sustainability of this system?  As designers, as consumers, as citizens?  How will this learning influence your thinking as a design student throughout your study and onto your career?