Experiential learning provides professionals a safe learning environment where the gap between theory and practice are bridged; experiential learning is the future of learning
Ever wondered why an individual learns to drive a car by just not reading about it in a textbook but by actually doing it? If this pedagogy applies for driving skills, one needs to ask why the same is not pertinent with education that forms the foundation for all the skills required for life’s decisions.
If we look back at the history of education and training, in the last 150-odd years, we have predominantly followed the “broadcast style” for imparting knowledge and skills to students and professionals alike.
There are, however, some serious issues with this “one-size-fits-all” solution to learning.
Learning effectiveness is sacrificed at the altar of efficiency
The current system of imparting knowledge results in college graduates who are woefully unemployable and in the corporate environment, professionals are not ready to take on the complexities of the Volatile-Uncertain-Chaotic-Ambiguous (VUCA) environment. The education system both in academic institutions and in corporate environments prepares professionals for jobs of yesterday, while the jobs of tomorrow don’t exist today.
Poor engagement levels in classrooms and training rooms
Current learning methods fail to engage and inspire learners. We often cite declining attention spans as the primary reason for lack of engagement in classrooms and training rooms. Humans are simply not built to be passive in a chair for 8 hours.
Abysmal retention levels in traditional learning methods
Memory experiments conducted by Ebbinghaus show that in the traditional approach, learners forget approximately 50% of the content just in the first 40 minutes after learning. The figure shoots up to 70% within a day. We badly need a better way to make learning stick.
Learning effectiveness using experiential learning
There is hope in the form of experiential learning. In this methodology, learners take ownership of the learning process and learn by doing. Experiential learning of Newton’s Laws, for instance, is when the learner is given a ball and asked to roll it and experience it coming to a halt due to friction. This approach is far more interesting, engaging and proven to exhibit higher retention levels over traditional means of reading a textbook.
As a result of trends in learning, it is pertinent for organizations to follow three design principles:
Immersive gamification: Traditional gamification concepts based on points, badges, and leaderboards become ineffective over time. It’s a known fact that employees and young talent are constantly looking for excitement, and immersive gamification can provide them with the excitement and satiate that need by making them a part of entire learning process.
Anytime anywhere: Learners’ need for pervasive content accessibility especially through mobile devices are increasing and design of learning programs have to keep pace with this development. Recently, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have addressed the content accessibility gap but the methodology still lacks the experience element. Research has shown for managers to learn effectively, MOOCs like courses address only 10%, while 20% of learning comes from their managers and mentors and 70% from on-the-job.
Actionable analytics: New-age learning must be designed in such a way that such actionable insights are easily available so that the outcomes from a training intervention are easily measured and communicated which in turn will lead to better performances and behaviours.
In summary, Immersive learning is the present and future of learning and it is here to stay and flourish as it provides holistic approach to learning – be it ability to engage, retention and the accessibility it caters to every single need of a learner across functions and systems. The on-demand nature of technologies helps reduce costs for companies and are likely to see a major decline in Capex. Thus, learners need to be empowered with the steering wheel, the gear lever and the driver’s seat so as to navigate through the chaos of the corporate world in the best possible manner.