3 Must-Have Skills for Experiential Learning Strategies to Work

What Are Experiential Learning Strategies?
In short, experiential learning strategies involve learning by doing using four steps:

  1. Deciding what to do
  2. Doing it
  3. Reflecting upon what worked and what did not work
  4. Connecting those key lessons back to your next decision

Similar to prototyping or piloting a concept or a project, experiential learning invites failure and explicitly encourages learning from relevant and meaningful actions.

Double-Loop Learning
Also called double-loop learning, experiential learning allows for deeper and faster learning and progress because it helps learners challenge and think more deeply about their own assumptions and beliefs as they move to action.

Single-Loop Learning
Single-loop learning on the other hand, involves individual, teams or organizations only going through half of the experiential learning cycle.  Examples include:

  • Analysis Paralysis: When people continue to talk and think and do not actually get anything done. “If you see a snake, discuss what you should do about it and why.”  Some individuals, teams and organizations naturally gravitate more toward reflecting and connecting.
  • Ready, Fire, Aim: When people act quickly and reactively without thinking deeply about their own assumptions, beliefs or longer term consequences. If you see a snake, kill it.  Some individuals, teams and organizations more naturally gravitate toward action.

The Advantage of Double Loop Experiential Learning
While it can be helpful in certain situations to take immediate and concrete action, double-loop learning strives to address the underlying causes by incorporating feedback and thinking about actions and operating assumptions.  In general, the more complex or systemic the problem, the more valuable experiential learning becomes.

Three Skills Required for Experiential Learning Strategies
If you want to make experiential learning strategies part of your talent management process to develop top talent, make sure you model, teach, measure and reinforce:

#1.  Self-awareness
Self-awareness is capability to monitor one’s own emotions and reactions.  When we have a solid and accurate understanding of ourselves, we are better able to reflect and make changes to improve ourselves and those around us.  Without self-awareness, it is difficult to challenge the assumptions and beliefs required for change and growth.

#2.  Authenticity
Let’s start with some data.  Based upon the results of over 500,000 employee engagement responses per year over the last 15 years, one area stands out as having the highest correlation to high levels of employee engagement compared to any other – the ability of Leaders to Build Trust.

Honesty and candor happens to also play a critical role in learning and performance improvement in terms of being able to recognize and discuss mistakes, assumptions, beliefs and root causes.  It is difficult to learn and improve without truthfulness.

#3.  Accountability
It is also difficult to learn, improve or change without creating responsibility for actions, beliefs, assumptions, behaviors and methods.  Does your culture make it easy or difficult for people to take responsibility?  Are your leaders accountable?

The Bottom Line
When you are simply looking to pass along information, the old-style classroom setting can suffice. When the task or issue at hand is simple or isolated, single-loop learning may be all that is required.  But when you want employees to learn new skills, behaviors and ways of doing things in a broader context, use experiential learning to get the job done.

If you want to learn more about experiential learning strategies for leaders, download How to Fast Track Your Leaders with Just-in-Time Action Learning

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I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

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We contacted LSA to help us with customized management development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would meet our exact needs. We decided to start at the top and ran the program for our executive team. It was such a great success that we hope to roll it out companywide. We look forward to a long-term partnership with LSA Global and their team of experts.

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“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

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LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

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Edify

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

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Blackhawk Network

I have worked with other training companies and found it to be more of a seller/buyer relationship than one of matching the right expertise to our business issues. That’s what LSA does – ask the hard questions, listen, and understand our business needs. We receive the benefit of their expertise from assistance with personal development plans to enhancing team performance, to looking at enterprise-wide challenges. It’s all about helping our business succeed as we grow. Right now, LSA is providing great ideas, a fresh approach, and valuable guidance as we develop our management team and accelerate our client relationship management results.

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In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

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We partnered with LSA to pilot a customized behavioral interviewing program to help ensure that we continue to hire the best and brightest as we continue to rapidly scale. LSA’s ability to understand our business and our unique culture combined with their desire to ensure that the best practices framework truly fits our performance environment and is highly adopted by our people is a real blessing. Most other firms want to just ‘give you training.’ Not LSA, they are focused on helping me hit our hiring forecasts and attract A players.

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AKQA

LSA has become the gold standard in team building and management training at Genomic Health! I have a hard time finding facilitators that come close to their level of customization, expertise and experience.

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We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

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LSA helped change our entire culture around meetings, making them more effective and efficient, thus enabling us to concentrate on driving more business.

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LSA provided top notch solutions right when and how we needed them. They exceeded my expectations from a speed, quality, and cost standpoint. I recommend them to anyone looking for a true business partner in the Learning and Development arena. The breadth and depth of their expertise has helped us hit tight deadlines across multiple projects.

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We consider LSA Global our outsourced learning and development partner. We worked closely with LSA to customize a management development program to meet our growing business needs. I would highly recommend LSA to any company wanting to deliver quality learning solutions.

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Intuit

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