Sacrificing Experience for Checking the Informed Box

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sacrificing experience

Sacrificing Experience for Checking the Informed Box

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There is information everywhere. Every place we step, turn, or take a rest. Information is plentiful and knowledge is abundant. Are you sacrificing experience for information?

In workforce development circles the chatter is often about experiential learning. On the surface many believe this means hands-on learning.

Experiential or Hands On?

Hands-on learning is can be experiential and it is important for the carpenter, the mechanic, and the electrician.

Are there other forms of hands-on learning?

Hands-on doesn’t always guarantee it is experiential. Experiential learning is about the act of doing something and then being able to reflect about it.

In seminars, it is the debrief following the subgroup exercise. The case study with a question and answer component, or perhaps even the often-dreaded role-play.


Understanding Information and Experience

The confusion exists because of our comprehension of the word experience.

As people we connect experience to motion. Turning the screwdriver, cutting the board to make it fit just right, or setting the torque specs for the cylinder head.

Learning to do it just right comes from experience. Because of the experience we can feel it, and reflect on it.

Today we have more opportunities than ever before to gather information. We’re plastered with information.

New age vehicles deliver more opportunities than ever. We have podcasts, social media posts, and YouTube, just to name a few.

We are exposed to information on a grand scale. Does it make us smarter? Does it improve our experience?

Sacrificing Experience

In a World full of opportunities to gather more information it is important to remember that information on its own does not necessarily improve performance. Our learning and the ability to contribute in the future often develop from experience.

We may be able to recite information but not do the job.

Having the new employee watch several hours of training videos doesn’t necessarily improve their competence. The same is true about the podcast or the technical specifications sheet.

Are you reflecting or just absorbing?

Be careful about confusing knowledge with experience.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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