When it comes to the success of corporate training, one factor that is frequently overlooked is the format in which the training is delivered. Unfortunately, corporate training is often centered around the information that needs to be shared, turning training into an intellectual activity in which individuals are told what they need to do or shown how they need to do it. While that might be enough in some limited circumstances, the most effective training methods focus on the learner rather than on the presenter, or even on the content.
Experiential learning is, by definition, learner-centered, because it actively involves employees in their own learning. They get to test out the new skills in a risk-free environment, allowing them to learn more quickly and understand why the new behaviors are more effective than old behaviors. If you are looking to maximize the ROI of your corporate training investment, consider the following experiential learning benefits:
1. Highly Engaging for Today's Audience
While smartphones have made it easy to check in from anywhere, the downside is that all of the distractions of work and the world as a whole are available in the palm of your hand. In passive training events, such as lectures or seminars, participants can mentally (and sometimes physically!) check out when they notice a notification.
Experiential learning, on the other hand, is immersive. It is engaging enough to hold the attention of the participants and keep them focused on the task at hand. And because it is fun, trainees want to participate, and won’t be checking their phones for welcome distractions.
2. Builds Conviction to Do Things Differently
In a training session that uses experiential learning, the session wraps up with a post-experience debrief, where participants have the chance to reflect on how things went, and why. With this intentional exploration of what they personally did during the experience, and how it affected the outcomes, participants come to see the link between their own actions and their results. Then, they make the connection between how to win in the game, and how to apply those same lessons to win at work.
This method not only teaches a new behavior or skill, but clearly demonstrates why it matters. By testing out the skill in the training environment and experiencing the effects for themselves, they understand how to apply it back at work, and the benefits of doing so. Having experienced it in a safe environment, they have the confidence in both their ability to apply the skill or behavior at work, and the conviction that it is worth the effort.
3. Adaptable to Any Corporate Training Programs
From safety and compliance training, competency development, to sales effectiveness training, experiential learning can be used to effectively for any corporate training initiative. Since it is so customizable, it can be built into any existing or future corporate training programs to increase the impact for your organization.
4. Maximizes Your Corporate Training ROI
Since employees learn the training content in a safe environment, and return to work confidently able to apply what they have learned, there is a measurable impact in performance in a short period of time. When people implement what they have learned right away, they are more likely to retain what they have learned and when they see the impacts of the changes, the benefits of the training are reinforced. The powerful combination of learning retention and reinforcement makes the ROI of experiential learning one of the best of any training methodology.
Experiential Learning Benefits Go Beyond Training
Experiential learning goes way beyond simple knowledge transfer. It benefits many employees who learn best through interactive, hands-on experiences, as it places them at the center of their learning. Making corporate training learner-centered gives participants the opportunity to truly build competency, along with the conviction required to implement the lessons from corporate training and improve their performance.