Making the case for experiential learning

“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” –  Confucius

How many times have you uttered the phrase, “I just have to experience it for myself”? If you’re like me then books, articles, videos and lectures are helpful but I often cannot fully grasp a concept or develop deep knowledge until I’ve  reflected on specific experiences. This is especially true when it comes to soft-skills training:  including communication skills, presentation skills, conflict resolution and leadership training. I learn best by doing, and reflecting on how the experience felt. What worked? What didn’t work? What can I tweak and practice?

My name is Lindsey and I am an experiential learning junkie.

Experiential learning capitalizes on the participants’ experiences for acquisition of knowledge. It engages the learner at a more personal level, by allowing them to make meaning and learn directly from experience through reflection.

Experiential Learning theory tells us knowledge is constructed through transformative reflection on our own experience. Instead of hearing or reading about others’ experiences, we are making discoveries and are simultaneously reflecting on our own experience in the moment.

Enter Applied Improvisation.

Here, we also engage the learner at a much more personal level and require of them self-initiative and self-evaluation to drive their own learning. We also sprinkle in humor, visual cues, a touch of fun, and principles that can be applied across many of our most common business scenarios and environments.  Learners set goals, experiment, observe, review and action plan – learning new skills, new attitudes, and constructing meaning in a way that’s unique and also incorporates the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of learning.

Improvisers know experiential learning is a proven method that allows us to interact, practice skills and reflect on what we’ve learned in the moment. Instead of reading a book or listening to a presentation, try using your training time to rehearse, practice, reflect and learn while being fully engaged. Your practice will pay off when you step on stage – whether it’s an important meeting, a sales pitch, or a job interview.

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