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The Elements of Experiential Learning

 

Posted on Tue, 02/12/2019 - 07:52

In today's world, things are moving faster than ever. You and your team need to be able to learn at a rapid pace in order to keep up. If you don't, you could end up falling behind the competition. This can turn into a major issue as your ability to innovate and change the landscape of your market diminishes. So make sure you are incorporating the best learning strategies into your practices, one of which is experiential learning.

Here is what you should know about this groundbreaking strategy as it relates to today's business environment:

Experiential learning

Engaging

Experiential learning is engaging, and training cannot be effective if your learners aren’t paying attention in the first place. Experiential learning is designed to capture and keep attention allowing users to interact with the content and form personal connections.

This involves including elements more relevant to their interests and showing them how it can benefit them to learn the material. Then, the motivation and engagement often take care of itself.

Great experiential learning always demonstrates a link between cause and effect. If you don't know how something you are learning will affect a cause later on, then you won't put much thought into it. Great managers need to show the cause and effect link in their training.

For instance, if you are trying to get your IT team to build a better security platform, you need to show the cause and effect link between better security and more income for them or even more security for their jobs. This is just one example of many ways you can demonstrate cause and effect links.

Active

One of the things that sets experiential learning apart from other strategies is its active nature. Passive learning not only takes longer, but less information is retained. This is a major problem in many forms of learning.

By focusing on active learning, leaders can get their team to take more action and be more involved. As a byproduct, they will pick up more details quickly and be able to put them into action for your business. This doesn't happen without careful planning, however.

Observing Real Results

When you outsource custom experiential learning solutions or form your own, don't rely too heavily on hypotheticals. Real results are what are going to be your best models of success. In other words, only take advice from people who have done something that you aim to do.

While hypothetical scenarios can help spark imagination, there are no proven cause and effect relationships with them. That means you might not get as much out of them that can be applied to your business on day one.

Personal Experience

Personal experiences are the touchstone of all great experiential learning solutions. Learning from experience is the best way to learn. It has been shown throughout history that you can read something, hear something, or watch it be done. However, only doing it will truly set you apart.

Proper training and learning happens when employees get their hands on the problem. They have an opportunity to solve it in the best way they see fit. Not only do they gain confidence, but the lessons they learn will be internalized on a deeper level.

Smart Reflection

The reality is that learning from experience can only happen if you review that experience. Simply doing something once will not build a deep learning pathway in the mind. It takes reflection of that activity from a deeper plane of thinking. This is something we emphasize and do often in our training.

There are various ways to reflect. One is to simply write down experiences and memories from something that you have just learned. This puts action on paper and into the mind as well. It is one of many effective strategies of review.

Abstract Thinking

Not everything is about real experience. Sometimes, getting creative is the answer. Using abstract thoughts can take out of the presence and into a bigger realm of possibility that might come in handy for innovation.

Group Sharing and Brainstorming

We often try to gather the thoughts of people in a group to spur creativity. When people work together to uncover solutions, amazing results can happen. It is one of the secret weapons of successful businesses that know how to train and empower their people.

Applying it to Training

The best companies are using experiential learning in employee training to get the most out of their team. The above tips are great to know. However, the real progress happens when you find a way to apply it. Your team should have various days or weekends throughout the year where they can immerse themselves in learning.

If your employees are not learning, then they aren’t being prepared for growth. And they are the lifeblood of your business, so it is important that you give yourself and your company the best chance to succeed in the market. Use learning from real experience as the foundation of your training and improvement to the take the lead, no matter what industry you are in.

Designing Digitally, Inc. specializes in experiential learning solutions, utilizing simulated and virutal training approaches to increase retention and productivity. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your employee training goals.

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