Make your experiential learning process real

In his latest HR Magazine column, Jan argues that too often experiential learning exercises bear little resemblance to life and that it is important to keep experiential learning real to unlock its full effect.

Raft-building ilearnasyouearn_popupn the Lake District, team games in hotel meeting suites, theoretical business projects and business simulations in conference rooms. These activities are all promoted as experiential learning – the process of learning through doing and, critically, reflecting on the doing so that learning arises from it.

Educational theorist David Kolb’s well-known model provides us with a simple yet valuable framework for this development experience. It shows that reviewing the experience and reflecting on it with the aim of trying new things is vital to the process. That’s to say, it’s not just about the experience, it’s about what you do with it.

But what the model doesn’t show is the type of activity that can count as experiential learning. The consensus is that it needs to be ‘real’. But what counts as real?

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