Why use experiential learning?
Lucy McGibbon, learning and development director at Sundial Group, looks at the value of experiential learning.
It is fair to say that life is a series of experiences, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but the consistency of these experiences is that we use them to gather knowledge. Much of our everyday knowledge is a result of learning from what we have previously experienced in life.
The phrase ‘teambuilding’ that is so frequently banded about today means learning to work together as a team, my interest lies within this ‘learning’ element. I have absolutely no doubt that to really get the best out of team building, this learning needs to be through experiential learning (meaning
learning by doing), since we all learn through our experiences.
In order to help people learn to be part of a better team, it is essential to develop individuals’ self awareness, specifically in terms of how they impact on one another and what that means for the performance of the team as a whole.
Team building that uses experiential learning, such as Teamscapes®, means that teams take part in a fun activity which not only improves morale but provides an excellent medium for learning on a level playing field. The activities provide the opportunity for a group of people to tackle a task/challenge together in just one hour – a relatively short period of time, although long enough for the group to be immersed in the task at hand and for individuals to behave naturally (warts and all). The activities are an ideal means of creating a non threatening experience outside the usual working environment, people become absorbed in the task at hand and very quickly it is possible to draw out significant learning.
Taking part in an activity together creates the opportunity, post-activity, for the group to reflect on their performance during the task and therefore consider how they might improve in order to tackle the next activity more efficiently. This is why I always think it is important to carry out a second
activity because it gives the opportunity to practice what was learned about individuals’ behaviour in the first activity and experience how, with new insights in mind, the activity can be completed more efficiently next time. In true experiential style, the second activity consolidates the observations
from the previous one.
The Teamscapes methodology, which is used to help individuals learn through experiential learning, brings about profound experiences that lead to personal learning. Through experiential learning, individuals learn how to become effective members of a team, so that a team can operate with
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy McGibbon .
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