It’s important for organizations to improve their internal learning and development program to ensure their employees are prepared to answer the complex challenges that often characterize the modern business environment.
This premise leads us to focus the discussion on Experiential Learning and its growing popularity within corporate development programs. While traditional methods, such as lecture-based training, focus on learning before doing, experiential learning emphasizes and “facilitates learning through doing.” – Nikos Andriotis, eFront
Experiential learning places participants in a safe space where they are exposed to real-world situations and practice relevant career skills without the risks that are commonly associated with training employees on the job.
Before we explore some of the most effective and popular experiential learning activities used in corporate training programs, let’s discuss two of the main benefits provided by this learning methodology.
The Benefits of Experiential Learning
- Moves from theory to application
Even though traditional training methods can be effective in instilling knowledge, they don’t teach participants how to translate that knowledge to their daily job functions. Experiential learning nurtures meaningful employee development through activities that allow participants to practice skills, solve problems, and make decisions that parallel their role and organization.
- Fosters development with actionable feedback
Experiential learning places participants in a safe environment where they can test assumptions, make decisions, and “fail fast.” This creates an opportunity for them to receive immediate feedback, quickly learning what they did wrong so they can avoid making the same mistakes in real life. Additionally, failing fast also “means more immediate remediation, which in turn makes learners work-ready faster.” – Nikos Andriotis, eFront
Experiential Learning Activities
Let’s now explore four activities that can effectively nurture employee development by making your next training program more experiential.
1. Business Simulations
Business simulations are experiential learning tools that provide real-world simulated environments in which participants are tasked with running a virtual organization. A gamified user experience engages participants while they collaborate with team members to respond to various stimuli and make informed decisions across various business units.
Simulations also provide debriefs that highlight the impacts of participant decisions, identify mistakes, and guide them through their shortcomings. This feedback nurtures the development and ties the simulation experience to their specific organization and job function. These tools also possess the flexibility to address various learning objectives, such as business acumen, team collaboration, strategic decision-making, and leadership development.
2. Case Studies
Case studies are used in experiential learning programs to expose participants to real-world situations that have occurred in the past. As Niko Andriotis states, case studies “can give them [participants] invaluable insight into the appropriate behavior required to deal with similar situations, and the blow-back it may have.”
3. Role Playing
Role-playing activities allow participants to experience specific situations from various perspectives. This increases awareness of how specific actions and decisions impact other stakeholders.
4. Sensitivity Training
The objective of sensitivity training is to help participants become aware of how other stakeholders perceive them and their abilities. This improves their ability to work with others, thus boosting productivity and team dynamics.
Experiential Learning with Capsim
Capsim’s training programs provide the tools necessary for your employees to succeed in the workplace. Our programs integrate experiential business simulations and assessments to eliminate the risks associated with training employees on the job.
To learn how we can partner with you to create a program experience tailored to your specific learning objectives, fill out the form below or click here to schedule a brief 30-minute conversation with Kiersten DeBrower, Capsim’s Manager of Training and Development.