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Professional Partner Content

Four Experiential Learning Activities for Corporate Programs

Published Wed Nov 07 2018


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,” according to Nikos Andriotis of 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 commonly associated with training employees on the job.

Benefits of Experiential Learning

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 methodology.

Moves From Theory to Application

Although 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 development and ties the simulation experience to their specific organization and job function. These tools also have 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 Nikos 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.

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