Experiential learning is the process of learning through experience, or to be precise, it can be defined as learning through reflection on doing. Experiential learning allows learners develop knowledge from their experiences. Experiencing is one of the best ways to learn and retain the learned information for longer periods of time. Let us look at four ways through which experiential learning can be incorporated in your custom e-learning courses.
According to a recent experiential learning report, mimicking is one of the best practices of experiential learning.
In order to create a lively and practical experience for your learners, your e-learning courses should incorporate scenarios or simulations as close as possible to real life. The more real an experience is for your learners, the better will they be able to relate and retain the information. For this purpose, using real life stories would be very effective. They provide a strong base to the scenarios and the content of the course.
Scenario-based learning is ideal for mimicking real life situations. The characters and animations can be depicted as close to real life as possible. The storyline can be taken from real case studies and used to impart knowledge to the learners.
According to a report, collaboration facilitates deeper reflection for the learners, thus helping them learn from experiencing and experimenting.
Collaboration is a major part of the experiential learning process. Also, a collaborative learning environment allows learners express themselves and increases participation in learning. The more learners interact and participate in discussions, the better knowledge they gain in a particular area. Various group discussions and forums can be used for this purpose. Though learners can discuss or collaborate in their workplace, this can be further extended or taken online with the help of online forums and social media groups.
Learners can conduct research and gather the necessary information by accessing online resources. They can also use various online multimedia resources to create reports or presentations. You can create this kind of environment in a LMS to allow learners communicate their ideas clearly, thereby encouraging experiential learning.
Experimenting & Practicing
According to the ryerson report, experimenting with new behaviors, and receiving feedback in a safe environment helped students relate theory to practice and analyze real-life situations in light of course material.
The most important part of experiential learning is experimenting and practicing. This can be incorporated in e-learning courseware with the help of watch-try-do simulations. Learners can learn by watching the simulations and also try their hand at them. This experience not only helps them form a strong base of knowledge but also reduces the chances of error when performing the same activities in their workplace. One more way is through the use of games, quizzes, and other interactive questionnaires.
Watch-try-do simulations are mostly useful when it comes to training your employees on software applications. Any errors after the go-live stage of the software can become a costly affair. It is always safe for learners to commit errors in a simulated environment and learn from them before trying their hands at the real software.
This is another stage of experiential learning where learners learn from the feedback given to them. The learning process is a cycle and feedback helps in reflective observation and reinforcing prior knowledge.
For instance, when an employee takes an e-learning course, his progress needs to be tracked and relevant feedback needs to be given. In scenario-based learning, feedback acts as a great way to reinforce knowledge.
These four forms of experiential learning can be incorporated in your e-learning courses through the usage of scenarios, games, simulations and surveys. Have other techniques to share? We would love to hear through your comments.