Dale’s Cone of Experience is a visual model that is composed of eleven (11) stages starting from concrete experiences at the bottom of the cone then it becomes more and more abstract as it reach the peak of the cone. Also, according to Dale, the arrangement in the cone is not based on its difficulty but rather based on abstraction and on the number of senses involved. The experiences in each stages can be mixed and are interrelated that fosters more meaningful learning.
According to one of the principles in the selection and use of teaching strategies, the more senses that are involved in learning, the more and the better the learning will be but it does not mean that concrete experience is the only effective experience that educators should use in transferring knowledge to the learner. Like what was mentioned above, the experiences in each stages can be mixed and are interrelated thus, a balance must be achieved between concrete and abstract experiences in order to cater the and address all the need of the learner in all the domains of development and in order to help each learner in their holistic development.
Moreover, the generalization about the Cone of Experience that was presented above is not enough. Actually, we should try to go deeper in each of the component of the cone since Educational Technology basically revolves around the Cone of Experience. By going one-by-one, starting from concrete to abstract, we will understand more the different components of the cone that will help us in grasping the real meaning of educational technology.
To expand on each of the components, let us begin with the Direct Purposeful Experiences. These are first hand experiences which serve as the foundation of learning. In this level, more senses are used in order to build up the knowledge. Also, in this level, the learner learned by doing things by him/herself. Learning happens through actual hands-on experiences. This level explains and proves one of the principles in the selection and use of teaching strategies, the more senses that are involved in learning, the more and the better the learning will be. This level also proves that educational technology is not limited to the modern gadgets and software that are commercially available nowadays. This shows that even the simple opportunity that you give to each child could help them learn.
The next level would be the Contrived Experiences. In this level, representative models and mock-ups of reality are being used in order to provide an experience that as close as reality. This level is very practical and it makes learning experience more accessible to the learner. In this stage, it provides more concrete experiences, even if not as concrete as direct experiences, that allows visualization that fosters better understanding of the concept.
On the other hand, the next level would be the Dramatized experiences. In this level, learners can participate in a reconstructed experiences that could give them better understanding of the event or of a concept. Through dramatized experiences, learners become more familiar with the concept as they emerge themselves to the “as-if” situation.
The next level would be the Demonstrations. It is a visualize explanation of important fact, idea, or process through the use of pictures, drawings, film and other types of media in order to facilitate clear and effective learning. In this level, things are shown based on how they are done.
Another level would be the Study Trips. This level extends the learning experience through excursions and visits on the different places that are not available inside the classroom. Through this level, the learning experience will not be limited to the classroom setting but rather extended in a more complex environment.
The level of study trips is followed by exhibits. It is a somewhat a combination of some of the first levels in the cone. Actually, exhibits are combination of several mock ups and models. Most of the time, exhibits are experiences that is “for your eyes” only but some exhibits includes sensory experiences which could be related to direct purposeful experiences. In this level, meanings ideas ar presented to the learners in a more abstract manner. This experience allows student to see the meaning and relevance of things based on the different pictures and representations presented.
The next levels would be the level of television and motion pictures and sti8ll pictures, recordings, and Radio. I decided to combine these two stages since it is re3lated to one another. Because of the rapid development of the modern technology, a lot of people believe that Educational technology is limited to these stages. They are not aware that these sages are only a small portion of EdTech. For television and motion pictures, it implies values and messages through television and films. On the other hand, still pictures, recordings and radio are visual and auditor4y devices that can be used by a lerner/group of learner that could enhance and extend lerning experience
Lastly, I also chose to combine the last two levels because they are used hand-in-hand. The last two levels would be the Visual symbolic and Verbal symbolic. These two levels are the most complex and abstract among all the components of the Cone of Experience. In the visual symbolic level, charts, maps, graphs, and diagrams are used for abstract representations. On the other hand, the verbal symbolic level does not involve visual representation or clues to their meanings. Mostly, the things involved in this level are words, ideas, pricicples, formula, and the likes.
After going through the different components of the Cone of Experience, it could be said that in facilitating learning, we can use variety of materials and medium in order to maximize the learning experience. One medium is not enough thus if we can take take advantage of the other media. There’s nothing wrong with trying to combine several medium for as long as it could benefit the learners. Also, through the levels provided by the Cone of Experience, it could be said that concrete experiences must be provided first in order to support abstract learning. Lastly, staying on the concrete experiences is not even ideal because through providing abstract experiences to the learner, the more he/she will develop his/her higher order thinking skills which is important for more complex way of thinking and for dealing with more complex life situations. Through understanding each component of the Cone of Experience, it could be said that Educational Technology is not limited to the modern gadgets that we have right now but rather it is a broad concept that includes all the media that we can use to attain balance as we facilitate effective and meaningful learning.