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Roger Greenaway

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Experiential learning and its impact

Spend a day with Dr. Roger Greenaway to discover the growing potential of experiential learning.

There is no doubt that experience is a powerful teacher. But it is equally true that we have powerful resistances to learning from experience because of what we have already learned from experience. (These include habits of thinking and habits of doing as well as powerful experiences that have shaped us in some way.) Yes, experiential learning is a powerful medium, but it has to be well designed, managed and facilitated if it is to be more than entertainment and if it is to have real impact on people’s learning and development.

There are many kinds of experiential learning. What do you picture when you think of experiential learning? There can be no single model that captures it all or that pins it down. I will present my own views and will focus your attention on what I believe to be the critical issues and important skills and models.

An incomplete list of issues

  • How much say and responsibility does the learner have? Is ‘impact’ something they seek or something they suffer?

  • Does experiential learning favour one kind of learner or is it suitable for all learners?

  • Is experiential learning simply participatory learning?

  • Which experience matters most? The individual’s experience? The group experience? The experience of a carefully designed activity? The experience that the trainer/designer wanted to happen?

  • Should the design of experiential learning focus on simulations of the working environment or on generating stimulating experiences for each individual? Or both? Or something else?

  • What are the primary skills of the facilitator of experiential learning?

An incomplete list of skills

  • Negotiating and designing a learning event.

  • Creating a climate for experiential learning.

  • Choosing or designing suitable activities.

  • Designing and facilitating the reviewing/debriefing of experiences.

  • Designing and facilitating the transfer of learning.

  • Enabling the continuing development of learning skills.

An incomplete set of models

  • Experiential learning cycles: strengths and limitations

  • Meeting development needs: for engagement and growth

  • Models of facilitation: what you can do to facilitate experiential learning

The day will include opportunities to explore these issues, skills and models in practical and participatory ways. The methods used will range from traditional to experiential - and will endeavour to mix the best of the old with the best of the new.

Dr. Roger Greenaway provides training and consultancy for developing practical debriefing and facilitation skills. He has earned his reputation by helping educators and trainers learn how to maximise the benefits of active learning. This is typically achieved by developing dynamic approaches to the reviewing and transfer of learning.

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