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  • Writer's pictureJack Waller

Why experiential learning? - Avoiding death by Powerpoint

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

Picture the scene, you’ve been sent on a day’s training, taking time out of your busy work schedule to attend a course. You arrive at the location, sit down, stare at the projector and watch as the facilitator talks through 100 PowerPoint slides: slowly drip-feeding you information that you desperately try to retain. You get a selection of takeaways to help, that you will hide away somewhere, never to see the light of day. Sound familiar? PowerPoint has its uses, but there is a time and place for it.

In the late 19th Century, German Experimental Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus described the Learning Curve, but he also talked about the Forgetting Curve, which demonstrates how about 70% of any new information is lost within 24 hours if we don’t make an effort to retain it.

How do you ensure that the learning you deliver is not only full of impact and enjoyable, but crucially, is also retained and taken back into the workplace?

Research shows that Experiential Learning increases engagement and leads to better retention of new knowledge. Participants are far more likely to learn through practise and experience. We spend the majority of our lives discovering, practising and learning from our mistakes, so why should this be any different in the training we do?

“People are at their most mindful when they are at play; their senses are fully engaged, their physical and mental prowess is at its highest. If we find ways of enjoying our work – blurring the lines between work and play – the gains will be greater.”
Ellen Langer, Professor of Psychology, Harvard University

Why Experiential Learning?

We believe that “learning by doing” or Experiential Learning, in training, is critical to truly drive change in participants' behaviours and habits. That’s why all of our learning solutions – online, facilitated classroom workshops and blended – are all structured using our Experiential Learning Engine.

Each part of the Dialectyx Experiential Learning Engine is powered by best in class content. As well as methodologies developed from years of research and teaching at the Universities of Cambridge and Hertfordshire, including application in major corporates around the world.

The Benefits of Experiential Learning

  • It makes learning more accessible and relatable. Participants build on their life experience and knowledge to make connections between new and existing concepts.

  • It bridges the gap between theory and practice. Participants put the theory they learn into practise, playing a crucial role in retaining concepts and ideas.

  • It increases the effectiveness of learning. Participants think critically, develop problem solving skills and practise decision making.

  • It increases engagement levels with a focus on collaboration and learning through experience and sharing ideas with others.

  • It encourages mind-set shifts. Experiential learning can have a dramatic impact to drive a positive mind-set change of participants. The approach typically helps to identify and address company decision making biases.

So whilst yes, there can be a place for PowerPoint, businesses need to deliver training that allows employees to fully understand and immerse themselves in the experience of what they’re trying to learn. Only then will you see the benefit from training translate to the workplace.

The results from over 70,000 users of our experiential learning engine have proven to deliver greater impact for our clients.

We recommend that you try to incorporate Experiential Learning into your staff training as much as possible. By doing so we’re confident your employees will learn more, enjoy their training and ultimately, actually apply what they’ve learnt when they return to their day to day roles.

To see how we use Experiential Learning in our Leadership Programmes and training solutions click here.

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