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Experiential Learning Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Experiential Learning?
Experiential learning has participants experiencing and responding to the same pressures they face daily in the workplace in a fun and non-threatening way. The approach typically includes a variety of hands-on problem-solving tasks that have individuals and groups experimenting with and practicing the essentials of leadership and teamwork. These activities and exercises provide metaphors that mirror organizational issues and provide participants the opportunity to discover for themselves the cause-and-effect relationship between what does and does not work when applying their skills.

What's the value of the Experiential Learning approach?
When participants discover insights themselves they are more likely to adopt new behaviors and attitudes. Our experiential exercises also allow participants to do this discovery in hours and days instead of years. They then draw upon these insights and experiences when they return to the workplace.

Experiential learning engages participants intellectually (their heads), emotionally (their hearts), and physically (their hands). This approach to engaging participants on multiple levels creates discoveries that are memorable and therefore more sustainable in the workplace. The experiential exercises also allow for many "teachable moments" that lead to internalizing the need for new approaches and behaviors, which in turn lead to an increased willingness to experiment with new behaviors and to take new actions.

How will we see value back in the workplace?
Transfer to the workplace is critical. Experiential learning demands finding practical solutions rather than theoretical ones. People are encouraged to experiment with new behaviors and these behaviors and actions are more easily transferred to the workplace because they have been tested and practiced instead of merely considered.

What kinds of areas can experiential learning address?
We integrate experiential learning simulations into our programs in the following areas:

  • Leadership Development
  • Executive Development
  • Team Effectiveness
  • Cross-Departmental Team Building
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • High Performance Coaching

What skills can we expect to address with experiential learning?
VisionPoint Consulting's experiential programs include focus on these skill areas:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Influence
  • Strategic planning
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making

How would experiential learning be used for leadership/executive development? Leaders need to model and exemplify skills in multiple areas. By combining experiential learning with conceptual classroom learning, we integrate the acquisition of knowledge with the opportunity for skill application in the leadership arena. We also include 360 feedback in our programs so participants have current data from which to draw conclusions. Our diverse experiential exercises bring alive, magnify, and clarify feedback from these 360 assessments.

How would experiential learning be used for team development?
Our use of experiential learning in team building has proven particularly effective in broadening the competencies of managers and in enhancing the effectiveness of intact or cross-functional work groups. People find themselves on common ground, regardless of title, when they face unfamiliar tasks. The experiential learning challenges, coupled with post-exercise assessment and discussion, provide a neutral context to quickly surface team issues, enable the group to identify and work on their most critical obstacles and enhance their effectiveness.

How would experiential learning be used in organizational effectiveness work?
Our programs and services focus on improving and enhancing organizational issues that include direction setting, organizational change, and leadership/management development. Our use of experiential learning exercises for large meetings (e.g., Sales, Marketing, Management meetings) can be used to set the stage/tone or reinforce key messages.

Does "Experiential" mean "Outdoor"?
Not necessarily. At one end of the spectrum, our exercises include exciting and fun indoor-classroom simulations that can be delivered to small groups of four participants or to large groups of 300+ participants.

Our more physical simulations are typically conducted outdoors. These include activities that range from our less physical, yet powerful single-group and multi-group problem-solving exercises to adventure-based ropes course events.

How physically fit must participants be to participate in outdoor programs?
Our outdoor programs are designed to accommodate participants regardless of their age and physical condition. Participants can take part without any prior physical preparation. We emphasize the right of the individual to determine his/her level of involvement.

How do I get more information about experiential learning?
Let's connect! Contact us at 925-944-0140 or e-mail us at info@visionpointconsulting.com

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