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An investigation of experiential learning theory: A case study of the Certificate in Adult Education program in Lesotho

Mantina Vincentina Mohasi, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study was to investigate concepts of experiential learning theory in Lesotho. Common practice in the Certificate Program in Adult Education reflected a gap between theory and practice in teaching and learning with too much reliance on the lecture method. This study's aims were (a) to find out how people in Lesotho understand experiential learning principles like experience, freedom, democracy, and equality; (b) to explore how people would support implementation of experiential learning approaches like collaborative learning, cooperative learning, service learning, role plays, drama, simulations, and credit for prior learning assessment; (c) to find out what would be the barriers and the possibilities in integrating or implementing experiential learning approaches. Qualitative research methods such as intensive interviews, class observation, focus group, and a literature review were used to collect data. Structured open-ended grand tour questions guided the interviews. The population in the study consisted of twenty-two participants: four administrators from the Institute of Extra Mural Studies, six lecturers who taught the Certificate Program, six students, and six employers. The analysis and interpretation followed a thematic approach. There were three findings. First, the concept of experiential learning as used by Dewey and his followers in higher education was new to most people that were interviewed. The meanings that Dewey gave to the concepts of democracy, freedom, and equality are different from the meanings Basotho people give to these concepts because, to them, authority and responsibility are attached to the concepts. Second, experiential learning techniques like collaborative learning, role-play, and drama can be more fully developed in the learning and teaching process in Lesotho. Third, barriers to implementing experiential learning practices include the rigid structure of the current Certificate Program, the bureaucracy of the University, and the working relations between the University and the Basotho Community. In conclusion, the study recommended that needs assessment be undertaken; service learning be tried out first; and the Credit for Prior Learning Assessment be piloted on an experimental basis.

Subject Area

Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Mohasi, Mantina Vincentina, "An investigation of experiential learning theory: A case study of the Certificate in Adult Education program in Lesotho" (2000). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9978530.