Why Experiential Learning Works

November 4, 2018

Get your workplace engaged with hands-on learning.

At one point or another, we’ve all been taught the value of learning from experience. While we often successfully learn this way in our daily lives when we explore a new hobby or interest, this style of learning is often lacking in the places where we work.

If you aren’t providing experience-based learning opportunities for your team, you’re missing out on opportunities to keep your employees engaged and improve productivity and retention. Below we’ll tell you more about how to get your team excited about learning through hands-on activities, collaboration, games, and more.


Keep it Fresh

Employees who perform the same tasks day in and day out without access to new experiences not only get bored and become less productive, but they’re more likely to look elsewhere for more satisfying positions.

As a starting point, encourage employees to look inward and think about skills or areas for improvement they are passionate about. Then create cross-training opportunities between different departments where you pair up each employee with someone who can teach them these skills. If someone wants the opportunity to present at a conference but they have stage fright, pair them up with the extrovert from your sales team who does presentations with ease.

Not only will this help keep your employees excited, but it gives you more flexibility when you need to cover for an employee who’s out. It also creates a stronger sense of teamwork and belonging as employees learn how other departments work.


Encourage Risk-Taking

Plunge into new experience.

When we take risks, we naturally expose ourselves to totally new and unexpected experiences which can provide powerful learning opportunities. By creating a culture where risk-taking is encouraged and embraced, you’ll create a natural learning environment.

Rather than constructing a culture that teaches employees to fear failure, which is a surefire way to prevent growth, challenge employees to take risks. Hold brainstorming sessions where employees have to throw out as many new ideas as possible, regardless of how feasible they are, in quick succession. Rather than saying “no” when an employee has a new idea, let them give it a try. (Procter & Gamble even offers a “Heroic Failure Award” to employees or teams who fail at a new idea that delivered an outstanding insight.)

Not only does encouraging risk-taking help show you who your future leaders will be, but once employees are no longer worried about being wrong, you’ll find that a plethora of new and creative ideas come pouring in.


Provide Experiential Learning Opportunities

Get your whole team engaged.

Providing direct, hands-on training for an employee who wants to learn a new skill can work, but there are other more engaging ways for your team to develop knowledge and skills through experience. The “experiential learning” model, developed by David A. Kolb in the 1980s, focuses on offering concrete learning experiences.

The trick is that experiential learning doesn’t involve the formal teaching of job-specific skills, but teaches leadership, creativity, analytical thinking, and practically any other skill you can think of from a more oblique (and fun) angle. For example, you might implement a game that teaches employees to collaborate or think creatively on the fly. While your team isn’t learning these things directly, they’re learn from an enjoyable and engaging experience how to be a better team member a more creative thinker.

When it comes to providing experiential opportunities, you may not feel like you have the time or expertise to effectively plan and implement activities. If this sounds like you, your employees will benefit more if they can learn from an expert. Think about bringing in a company or individual that specializes in these areas and knows how to give employees the tools they need to thrive.

For example, in “Create a Mindful Culture,” one of Speakizi’s latest experiences, former monk, author, and TED-x speaker Pandit Dasa teaches employees how to use mindfulness strategies that will benefit their work and lives.

In our “Improv(e) Your Communication Skills” workshop led by Jen Oleniczak Brown, founder of The Engaging Educator, employees learn to improve communication through a fun-filled, action-packed improv workshop.

If you aren’t sure what you need, we can take care of it for you. All you have to do is get in touch. To find out about our many experiences and fun ways get your employees more engaged and connected, visit www.speakizi.com.