Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing. Many companies have found that this learning technology has been very helpful in educating employees in a meaningful and effective manner. In the process of experience-focused learning, learners take action, but also reflect on and learn from, then take new action based on their experience. This method is built on a four-step cycle, where the learner first has concrete experience with the content being taught, then reflects on the experience by comparing it to prior experiences. Based on that reflection, the learner then develops new ideas about the content being taught, and then acts on new ideas by experimenting in the appropriate setting.
Here are 3 ways to make sure you are providing your learners with the experiences they can best learn from as part of your corporate learning and development strategy.
3 Ways To Make Learning More Experiential
1. Think Beyond the Experience
A key part of understanding what works about experienced-focus learning is thinking beyond the experience itself. You are providing learners with the opportunity to try something out, but the learning opportunity doesn’t stop there. This is not the same as hands-on learning or an apprenticeship. The true benefit of experiential learning is when the learner has the opportunity to think critically about the experience and improve upon it. This may involve discussing concepts and experiences with other experts or peers. It means finding the time and space to experiment further and try new things to better understand the process. The core value of this type of learning is in the critical thought that goes into the learning process. It requires understanding and further exploration to truly engage with a subject matter.
2. Understand Context
Another critical element of a successful experiential learning strategy is the context in which it is provided. Context matters greatly because if your learners are unable to connect the dots to understand how a new skill or experience is likely to be relevant to their day to day work, then the learning will soon after fall out of use. Experiential learning has very specific limits because it is only useful when being taught in the context of a real-world setting. That’s why it’s so important to both understand and provide relevant context for the learning experience. Without it, the opportunity to truly engage with a subject matter may easily get lost.
3. Make Time to Experiment
As is the case with many adult learners, the opportunity to bring in previous experience and knowledge into the current learning environment offers up some exciting challenges. Experiential learning is built to make use of that prior-knowledge and weave it into the learning experience through experimentation. Brainstorming around how to do things even better can be a huge benefit to the experiential learning process. Whether this is done in a group setting or encouraged on their own time, employees learn much faster when they are offered the chance to experiment, try new things, build new processes, and achieve undocumented goals to build into future experiences and learnings. Give them that time to test their experience and think outside the box. That’s where your true value lies.
Are you looking for solutions to developing engaging and effective training?
Consultants can help you define your learning objectives, identify, define, and validate performance-based learning objectives using the expertise of subject matter experts (SMEs) and key stakeholders. For more advice on how to connect with your corporate trainees, connect with our learning and development experts at Clarity Consultants.