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Is Experiential Learning Dead?

We live in a digital world, so engaging with anything and everything digital is the way to go, right?

A group of diverse people talk
Source: http://www.gettheedgeuk.co.uk/leading-way-experiential-learning/

It seems like in this day and age, that’s the only way we are able to keep up with the times. But what about the days of good old experiential learning, where we learn by getting our hands dirty. Are those days truly dead and behind us, or is it something that we should keep alive?

People generally learn more quickly and retain information better when the subject matter pertains to them personally. The act of doing or acting on something makes learning very personal. The process of experiential learning involves both initiative and self-assessment, as well as hands-on activity. Let’s go through some of the benefits of experiential learning amidst this digital world that we live in, together. 

Opportunity for Creativity and Innovation

Problems in reality, often have more than one solution. Experiential learning enables participants to engage the creative portions of their brains and seek multiple solutions and ultimately settle on the one that meets up to the task at hand. This article emphasises on the deliberate action to bring out innovation through experiential learning, and the variety of results that follow. It enriches the group dynamics and helps individuals to realise their own potential. This can be in turn, be applied to problems in the real world. 

Time for Reflection

Reflection is an integral component of the experiential learning process. By incorporating concrete experiences with abstract concepts, and then reflecting on the outcome, participants are empowered to engage more regions of their brain and make true, personal connections with the material. We can learn from experience if we take time to reflect upon the things that happen to us; thoughtfully considering not only the experience itself, but our reactions to it, other people’s responses, the results achieved, the impact on the environment around us, and so on. This analysis helps us better understand how the concepts learned can be applied to other, varied circumstances, much like the real world. 

Learning that Sticks

The act of practicing a skill strengthens the neural connections in our brain. Humans are born with at least 100 billion brain cells, called neurons. As you listen, talk, or practice something, fibers called dendrites grow out of your neurons. Learning is built, as your network of dendrites grow higher and higher, with new dendrites sprouting from existing dendrites. In other words, new knowledge is built upon the things already known, like a tree sprouting twigs from existing branches. Hands-on activities require practice, problem-solving and decision-making. As participants engagement increases through these processes, learning accelerates and retention improves.

Theory comes to Life

Reading about something online is great for knowledge building, but how much of it will be remembered if not put into practice? With experiential learning, this knowledge can be applied to understand the effect and outcome of a particular situation. It also helps in remembering concepts and ideas. 

These are just some of the benefits of experiential learning, and good enough reasons to ensure that we do not forget about the “hands-on” amidst the digital advancements. Our team at Right Impact is equipped to do just that, to promote training through experiential activities that enable all participants to learn by involvement. We strongly believe that in order for any programme to be highly effective, it needs to be led well with just the right amount of theory and ensuring that it is brought to life and made real for everyone. 

In fact, you might want to check out our latest experiential learning offering - Allocate, that gets your learners to gain strategic planning skills through a team-based board game.


Article by Andy Pan, the Director of Training at Right Impact and the author of Happy Companies, Healthy Profits.
 

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