Tag Archives: experiential learning

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untaught lessons

Untaught Lessons Are Not a Life Event Label

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Learning from experience is what many people enjoy the most. In some circles it is identified as experiential learning. Can you learn from untaught lessons?

Untaught suggests that it wasn’t scripted. It still, perhaps, could have happened in a classroom only it was a by-product of the instruction or lecture not necessarily the actual content.

Often people believe that experiential implies hands on. Such as a mechanic uses a wrench to loosen the bolt.

Experiential learning at its root is developed from reflection. When you reflect cognitively on the content, an outcome, or even the lecture, you are experiencing it.

What we learn becomes part of who we are. Often people become a label.

She is a teacher, dentist, or a welder. He is a carpenter, a salesman, or a project manager.

The labels often become applied as a result of formal studies. The degree in accounting makes her an accountant. It’s a life event label. She studied accounting and is now an accountant.

What happens with all of the untaught lessons?

Do you learn something from the by-product or residue of intentional learning?

Untaught Lessons

At the end of formal training sessions sometimes an instructor may ask, “What did you learn?”

For the individual there is reflection. For everyone else in the class there is reflection and an opportunity for learning from thoughts shared.

In many cases we experience or reflect upon what we choose.

When we make a mistake, we can learn from it. When we have some success, we can learn from it.

In life it is often our reflection on lessons that have the greatest impact.

Untaught lessons may not provide you with a life event label. Yet, life events may teach you a lesson.

-DEG

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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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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.

Confused?

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.

-DEG

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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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people learn

Making People Learn, Is That Possible?

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Is it possible to make people learn? Can learning be forced or is it more about people being self-motivated and self-directed?

Have you ever considered what the straight A student learned? What about attaining a 3.98 or 4.0 at the University? Have those students really learned?

The question sometimes comes down to, “Learned what?”

In many classroom curricula the savvy students figure out the way to get the perfect score. They are smart about navigating the educational environment.

Yet, have they really learned the material or just the material as it pertains to testing?

Experiential Learning

Many people bring up the concept of experiential learning.

Often, they connect this to hands-on learning. Sure, it may encompass hands on, yet experiential is really about reflection and experiencing the learning opportunity.

Experiential learning can occur with a case study, a screwdriver, or by clicking a mouse to apply different courses of action to a data set. It is nearly wide open. The key is that the learner is engaged and is reflective of the presenting opportunity.

The self-directed desire to learn may be much more reflective than the act of studying to get a good test score.

Making People Learn

Making people learn may be possible but what will the future outcomes hold? If the learning is not enticed with a desire to do more, be more, or build upon more, is there a point?

Is there a difference between the person who reads the book because there will be a test or the person who reads the book with an inquiring mind?

Will reading the book result in a grade or new knowledge? It could be both, but which would you place more value in, learning based on desire or because a grade will be given?

If you look around, kick up some dust, and stir the pot a little, you’ll likely find that the most successful people are lifelong learners.

Not because there will be an academic test when it is over, but because in life they want to be prepared for when they are tested.

-DEG

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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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workplace experiences

Workplace Experiences Shape Your Future

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People will sometimes ask, “What did you learn?” Our workplace experiences guide nearly everything that happens next. They tear down, create new, or expand organization culture.

Likely, no one experiences the experience in exactly the same way. On a trip to Disney, individual experiences are different. A trip to the beach, the mountain resort, or last evenings sporting event, no two people have exactly the same experience.

It is the same for what we read, watch on TV, or learn in the seminar. It is always shaped by our individual thoughts and past experiences.

Experiential Learning

This is exactly why the concept of experiential learning matters in workshops and seminars. You can tell people many things, when you prompt them to reflect on ideas as an experience it is much more powerful.

In many regards, it is why the keynote at the convention is impactful, or perhaps why it is not. Ask a few people what they thought, you’ll likely get some different answers. No two people will experience it exactly the same way.

The stories that are told and the stories that are heard may be two different things.

Workplace Experiences

The hope then, of the story teller, the workshop leader, or the CEO is that his or her involvement will create the kind of impact desired.

The desire to shape futures, pivot directions, or do more of the same will be based on the behaviors that are led by our experiences.

We all rely on stories to shape what happens next. Biblical stories, historical accounts, and, “the way things are done around here.”

-DEG

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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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team growth

Team Growth May Start With Experiential Learning

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Working across the generations that are currently active in our workforce has its share of challenges. Team growth often develops through experiential learning. Are you encouraging new experiences?

What creates more knowledge? Perhaps, many would quickly suggest more experiences are helpful.

Those that have been in the workforce the longest, the traditionals and baby boomers, often consider that they have vast experience.

Of course, on one hand, that is hard to argue. On the other, we may question how deep their experiences are with the latest technologies.

When we jump to the other end of the spectrum, we may decide that the most recent generations, the millennials and Gen Z, lack general workforce experiences. The stereotype is that they are well educated, but come up short on navigating workplace politics, etiquette, and soft skills.

Team Growth

Perhaps the key for everyone in the workforce is to consider that the best way to gain more experience is to engage in different experiences.

In training and development circles there are many different tools or vehicles for creating a learning experience. While there is lecture, video, and even storytelling, one of the best tools is often labeled, experiential learning.

Is that hands-on learning?

It’s true that hands-on learning is certainly a form of experiential learning. However, we can’t forget that soft skills can also be taught through forms of reflection, often known as experiential learning.

Reflection and Learning

Learning and development professionals will use tools such as assessments and case studies to drive subgroup and whole group reflections. Properly executed they can simulate (a form of hands on) real-world scenarios to create a more immersive learning experience.

Are you interested to harmonize your workforce?

Regardless of the generation and regardless of the organizational hierarchy. When you want team growth you are going to have to introduce new experiences.

-DEG

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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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experiential learning

Why Experiential Learning Matters In Your Workplace

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Do you have a path for growth? Are you leading employees in your workplace, and if so, how are you helping them develop? Experiential learning may be the missing link for the success you seek.

We’ve all heard it before. Heck, there is a good chance we have said it ourselves a few times.

I learn by doing it.

I’m a hands-on learner.

Experience matters more than textbook.

Experiential Learning

While there is some truth to the idea that we all learn differently much of our learning is based on the reflection of the task or action. Listening or seeing, engaging our senses is part of it, but our reflection makes the difference.

This is not necessarily the same as hands-on learning. Sometimes the words are used synonymously, however, differences exist. Experiential learning is based on learning by reflection.

Why This Matters

We can tell someone to wear safety equipment. They can even practice wearing it. If there is no reflective thought about why this matters it will have much less chance of becoming a positive habit.

This is exactly why job descriptions matter. Goals and objectives matter. Job descriptions connected to the department or organizational mission are the best. However, none of this will make a difference if the employee doesn’t make a psychological connection.

In simple terms, it is about why this task or duty matters.

“This is what I’m paid to do,” is not a connection with the task. It is a connection with the reward.

“I’ll get fired if I don’t,” is not a connection with the task. It is a connection with the punishment.

Leadership Assumptions

Many workplace leaders are in a leadership role because of their technical attributes. They have a proven track record of success in a specific business area. It may be technical skills or it may be intellectual contributions, or both.

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face is that they often focus too much on the technical aspects and not enough on the cognitive skills.

One question tells it all, “Are you interested in lifelong learning?”

If you believe you’ve mastered all that you need to know, you are likely right, you’re done.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer. 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 Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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