You may have heard about (and become interested in) the concept of experiential education.
Unlike traditional education, educators are highly engaged with participants, making them a part of the experience itself. Programs are often designed with adults in mind (although there are incredible programs for all ages), focusing on key skills that encourage personal growth, productivity and a sense of community.
In terms of organizational development, structured programs create an environment that enhances both teaching and learning. Positive change, leadership and teamwork are often the core focus of these exciting, rewarding opportunities — benefiting each individual and the team, collectively.
When embarking on a rewarding learning experience, this is what you can expect from an organizational development program.
A Look at Experiential Learning Program Options
From adventure-based rope courses to leadership development programs, the sky is the limit. Although experiential learning encourages focus and discipline, there are fewer boundaries in terms of the overall educational experience. This is particularly the case when aiming to maximize institutional effectiveness.
Within a professional workplace, development is imperative to long-term growth and success. After all, you know what they say, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” In order to thrive individually and as a team, certain skills will be required outside of the standard occupational requirements.
For example, an employee may be great at what they do within the company, yet they lack certain skills, such as being able to effectively collaborate. This is when organizational training development comes into play.
When faced with a new and exciting challenge, one that requires everyone to work together, participants learn how to work as a team — which is something that they then bring back to the workplace. Take a ropes course, for example, as this is one of the more common approaches.
These specially designed courses can be set-up in one of many ways. If you’re unsure how your team would best benefit, there are consultants that will first assess your team’s needs, so that they can design a program that helps you meet and exceed professional goals.
Experiential learning programs are, of course, about that unique, personalized experience — but that is just the beginning. These programs allow individuals to develop and harness skills that will benefit them in the real-world for many years to come.
When selecting a program, be mindful of:
- The location — depending on your budget, there are programs that are local, national and international. What type of experience are you looking for? Also, consider the type of skills you want your team to develop — this will determine the teaching styles that best suit your goals.
- The activities — once again, what is it that you’d like to achieve? With so many activities, you can choose from challenge courses, low and high rope courses, outdoor adventure education and more. Based on what type of program you choose (as well as the duration), this will also influence cost.
Here are just a few of the many programs available:
- Paradigm Shift — through dynamic learning and workshops, this program strives to empower leaders. This is the perfect opportunity for corporations, non-profits, educational groups, and pretty well any community of people who are looking to enhance their leadership skills.
- Fulcrum Learning System Inc. — this leadership and team building company creates one-of-a-kind outdoor and indoor learning experience, with a focus on corporate team building.
- Kaleidoscope Learning Circle — specializing in team development, leadership, and self-awareness, this program offers an opportunity to work with horses. This supports exploration, accountability and trust. This is also a great mental health program.
The Benefits of Being a Participant: Personal Growth and Team Development
Once you have participated in one of these programs, you will quickly understand how this form of education differs from traditional methods — and it’s exciting!
The overall hands-on learning experience allows you to reflect so that you can then apply that lesson to various aspects of your life moving forward. From risk-management to outdoor skills, there are so many opportunities to grow as an individual within a like-minded community.
Just some of the benefits include, but are certainly not limited to:
- The opportunity to experience adventure — when you embark on an adventure, you will not only see and do new things but also challenge yourself. By participating in an experiential learning program, you will be pushed outside of your comfort zone so that you can truly learn and evolve. Depending on the program you choose, the instructor will carefully craft challenges to match your goals and true capabilities while ensuring safety and educational gains. Just imagine a team-building exercise in the backcountry or a rope course that not only tests you physically but mentally. These concrete, adventurous experiences are what develop lifelong skills.
- Enhanced life (and professional) skills — speaking of lifelong skills, learning in this unique manner will allow you to apply what you learn to your daily life. As you learn to think in a more abstract manner, the concepts you learn will encourage a deeper understanding of creativity, problem-solving, and most importantly, collaboration. Whether you apply the skills you learn to your career or your interpersonal relationships, you will begin to see improvements in various aspects of your life. When programs focus on a corporate team, for instance, these participants grow as individuals — in turn, benefiting the group.
Are you interested in an experiential learning program? Learn more by visiting our programs page today.