Here is where experiential learning comes into the picture. As Albert Einstein famously said
“Learning is experiencing. Everything else is just information”.
Learning is probably the only constant factor in any environment. This is especially true of the corporate world where every day brings with it new challenges, situations and rules. Learning is a continuous and constant process. The more effective the process of learning, the greater will be the impact on performance and productivity. Hermann Ebbinghaus articulated the learning curve as a relationship between time and memory. The theory states that even if absorption rate at a lecture is 100%, its retention begins to decline drastically on the very second day. As a result, the learner inculcates just about 2-3% of the original within just a month of having acquired such knowledge.
Experiential learning is one of the most powerful and successful training methods known to man. It is the method that can be used to address individual problems and potential, through the persistent impact of experience. This is in stark contrast to the conventional methods of lectures and classroom sessions, where participants are not involved entirely in the learning process. The following is a comprehensive guide into why experiential learning is more impressive than other conventional methods.
- Accelerates learning
Traditional learning techniques involved learning theory. While necessary information was learnt by heart, other nuances were almost overlooked or ignored. Applying these theories in real life situations was almost a never-seen scenario. Here is where ‘Learning by Doing’ made a significant difference in the learning process. Shifting from the mindless and mechanical method of learning, experiential learning taught every nuance through the powerful tool of experience. And since experience is synonymous with understanding, the process is naturally accelerated – both in terms of time and effectiveness.
- Risk-free Learning Environment
Since experiential learning involves doing, it entails the setting up of a simulated environment with real life situations. The greatest advantage of this technique is that while the issues and scenarios at hand are as real as in the world, the environment of response and reaction is risk-free. It therefore allows participants to think freely and creatively. It allows for the opportunity to think things through, to make mistakes and to learn from them – a luxury that cannot be afforded in the workplace.
- Bridges the gap between Theory and Practice
Theory as we know it is often quite distant from challenges faced in real-life situations. In such a scenario, practical knowledge fails to come to the rescue. Experiential learning on the other hand allows for the development of an instinct and inculcates in participants the confidence necessary for decision making. There are several such facets of corporate behavior that do not come in line with theory. Experiential learning acts as the link between the two essential components of theory and its challenged practice in the real world.
- Produces Demonstrable Mindset changes
Experiential Learning is one of those few training methods that seek to alter the mindset, thought-process and behavior of an individual. Experiencing and living through is probably the only means of making a significant impact on one’s thinking. Theoretical classes although designed with the same intent, come nowhere close to the dramatic impact experiential learning has on any individual.
- Increases Engagement Level
The highlight of experiential learning is the fact that every participant is entirely involved in the process. Simulating a real life situation creates a fun environment and an interest level that is rarely matched in traditional training methods. On account of such active participation and involved thought processes, standard procedures and behaviors are easier to challenge and change.
- Delivers Exceptional Return on Investment (ROI)
Experiential learning impacts thought processes, emotions and feelings of participants. With such intense impact, there is bound to be a measurable and visible change in performance and effectiveness. The Return on Investment with regard to this form of training is therefore unmatched and unparalleled, especially in comparison with alternative techniques of training.
- Provides Accurate Assessment Results
The assessment of training techniques is a very important component in the training process. Unlike in traditional techniques, this methodology combines the preciseness of analytics with simulations and gamifications to help assess objectively various elements across cognitive learning and skills development. The analytics involved in experiential learning helps create detailed reports for every individual participant, based on reactions and responses to the simulated environment.
- Enables Personalized Learning
Personalized training is marked by 4 phases: Assessment, teaching and learning strategy and curriculum choice. While addressing each of these, experiential learning attempts to take training outside the traditional confines of a classroom. Not only does it differ in terms of syllabi, the methodology is designed to involve every participant and address individual concerns. Probably the only technique that can be modified to personal needs, experiential learning has been a revolution in the learning industry.