How Experiential Learning Can Turn the Tide for Corporate Training - No More Worry about Getting Returns from Your Investment in Corporate Training
People are naturally resistant to change because it requires them to move out of their comfort zone and try something different. Change requires effort. Hence, an individual must be highly motivated to bring about a change, especially in their behaviour. This is at the core of understanding how to make corporate training more effective.
Why should I change just because my company wants me to change? Why should I take out time to do something other than my work? What is in it for me? Unless you have answers to these questions, there is no way you can run corporate training programmes that are effective. You may still conduct training and participants may enjoy the time away from work, but it is very unlikely that you will see any perceptible change in the behaviour of the participants. So will your goal of training be met? Definitely not!
This is where there is a strong need to change how corporate training programmes are conducted – whether it is classroom or eLearning. The primary objective of any type of training is to produce noticeable and measurable results. Training programmes designed based on Experiential Learning can create long-lasting behavior change.
Experiential learning, in its simplest form, means learning from experience or learning by doing. Experiential learning first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.
Experiential learning instills personal conviction as the learner learns from reflecting on doing something. That means that the learner has already tried something and it has worked, maybe with some trial and error, so in the future also, the learner believes that he or she has the ability to do it. Experiential learning allows participants to try new skills and delivers new knowledge in a way that is more acceptable and accessible.
Experiential learning has the ability to demonstrate how behavior change improves performance and can link the training concepts to the real world. It is very effective in motivating participants to change behaviors.
By creating immersive experiences in which participants learn by doing, abstract concepts can be brought to life. Individuals from different departments can simultaneously learn skills such as teamwork, communication, conflict management, process improvement, or time management. How they apply these skills in their individual roles will vary, but every participant would leave the training with the same conviction to change their on-the-job behaviors and improve their skills.
Learning by doing means that participants must try multiple approaches to solve a problem or improve performance. This type of trial and error approach instills a sense of personal ownership because the outcomes clearly depend on individual and team behaviors. In a training environment that compresses time, the results are seen immediately and participants learn what they can do differently to better affect outcomes. Through the use of a debrief that links the scenarios in the training to real-life situations, individuals can understand how the same type of behavior change on the job will lead to real-world performance improvement.
Now that you are more or less convinced the experiential learning can help you meet your training objectives, how do you go about actually implementing it? A very important aspect to consider is whether your training provider can actually deliver an experiential learning programme or not. Unfortunately, many trainers and motivational speakers focus on delivering a very good performance which is entertaining and impressive. Participants come away from the training thinking that the trainer or motivational speaker was superb. But remember, that does not help you meet your objectives.
You need a training partner who will design a programme which meets your specific requirements. You need a training partner who will worry more about the needs of the participants and not on their performance on stage. You need a partner who will be able to create a safe environment where participants feel comfortable to try new skills and behaviors without fear of failure that is directly linked to their jobs.
You need a partner who will enable participants to work through their own process of self-discovery rather than judge them. You need a training partner who will be able to connect the concepts in a way such that the participants feel that it is personally relevant to them.
You need a partner who will create an environment where participants are fully immersed in the experience, not merely doing what they feel is required of them.
When experiential learning programmes are combined with a measurement and retention programme, the results are even greater. This helps employees know that their behavior change efforts are leading to success, and it will help maintain the necessary motivation.
Are you ready to explore this and looking for some help in designing and delivering highly effective training? If yes, then we at SoaringEagles can help you kickstart the process. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Sonali Sinha, Founder & CEO, SoaringEagles (soaringeagles.in)
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