Most people would agree that knowledge of a skill and experience with it are not the same thing. One can read about all kinds of complex topics, but that doesn’t mean they can put what they’ve learned into practice. In some cases, knowledge just isn’t enough. In others, knowledge without sufficient experience can even cause problems.
If you want to bridge the gap between knowledge and experience, experiential learning is often considered the ideal path. It allows the learner to take what they think they know and put it into practice in a safe way. In some cases, it can even showcase the flaws in their previous understanding, demonstrating why the employee needs to “unlearn” what they knew and replace that knowledge with something more effective.
However, that just scratches the surface of what experiential learning can do. If you want to understand how experiential learning benefits employees and organizations, here’s what you need to know.
From Abstract to Concrete
In some cases, learning objectives are a bit abstract. The instruction doesn’t focus on scenarios that apply to the learner’s role or, in a way, reality. This can make the material feel ambiguous or, at a minimum, causes the knowledge to be hard to apply.
With experiential learning, everything is more concrete. Knowledge and skills are put to use in a meaningful way, just as a relevant on-the-job application. This shows not only how the capability is used, but also why it’s valuable. As a result, knowledge retention may rise, and genuine workplace behavioral change can occur.
With experiential learning, the process is immersive. The learner is an active participant, taking part directly. As a result, this method tends to be more engaging and memorable. Retention of what they’ve learned is enhanced, and the likelihood that they have discovered practical applications for what they know goes up.
Safely Correct Bad Information
At times, a person thinks they have knowledge of a topic, but the reality is different. However, this may only come to light if a person tries to put that particular capability into practice, only to come up with less-than-desirable results. If this happens on a critical business system and without the guidance or review of another, the bad outcome can be incredibly damaging.
With experiential learning, the employee can find out that what they think they know isn’t actually correct in a safe environment. Even if the outcome is poor, it can be part of a learning experience that incorporates room for error. No lasting damage has to occur, as they are being directed, monitored, and tracked as they work to build the skill.
Do You Need L&D Professionals to Incorporate Experiential Learning into Your Program?
At Clarity Consultants, we have over a quarter-century of experience in the learning and development (L&D) field. By working with us, you gain immediate access to allies who can assist you in identifying the talented L&D pros your organization needs to excel. If you need to find L&D experts who can help you incorporate experiential learning into your program, the team at Clarity Consultants can make the process quick and efficient. Contact us to learn more about our robust services and see how our L&D expertise can benefit you.