5 Golden Steps of Designing Experiential Learning Process

“We will learn no matter what! Learning is as natural as rest or play. With or without books, inspiring trainers or classrooms, we will manage to learn. Educators can, however, make a difference in what people learn and how well they learn it. If we know why we are learning and if the reason fits our needs as we perceive them, we will learn quickly and deeply.”

– Malcolm Knowles

Perform; do it

  • Provide a concrete experience that:
  • Can be an individual or group experience, but involves doing.
  • Most likely will be unfamiliar to the learners – a first-time activity.
  • Pushes the learner beyond previous performance levels.
  • Maybe “uncomfortable” to the learner (The “Groan Zone”).
  • Includes the risk of failure.

Results; reactions; observations

  • Get the participants to talk about their experience.
  • Share reactions and observations.
  • Discuss feelings generated by the experience.
  • Let the group (or individual) talk freely and acknowledge the ideas they generate.

Discussing; analysing; and reflecting on the experience

  • Discuss how the experience was carried out.
  • Discuss how themes, problems, and issues are brought out by the experience.
  • Discuss how specific problems or issues were addressed.
  • Discuss personal experiences of members.
  • Encourage the group to look for recurring themes.

Connecting the experience with real-world examples

  • Find general trends or common truths in the experience.
  • Identify “real life” principles that surfaced.
  • List key terms that capture the learning.

Apply what was learned to a similar or different situation

  • Discuss how new learning can be applied to other situations.
  • Discuss how issues raised can be useful in the future.
  • Discuss how more effective behaviours can develop from the new learnings.
  • Help each individual feel a sense of ownership for what was learned.

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