Discover why experiential learning works best
Some of the most successful UK companies are spending more than £1,000 per employee per year on professional development. But what form does this take and why is professional development so important?
Continued professional development (CPD) is widely recognised as a way to improve the standards and skills of individuals, their companies and their industries. Employees may well have relevant academic qualifications, but CPD ensures that these individuals continue to become more knowledgeable, skilled, efficient and effective in their role. As a result they will be more productive, leading to a measurable return on investment for the company.
What is the best form of CPD for you?
CPD can be anything from bitesize online learning to 1-2-1 coaching. These methods vary in method, time required, cost and effectiveness. Deciding on which form of training your CPD should take depends on the skills you require for your role.
Online tutorials can be cost-effective for procedural learning. For example, ‘How to complete and submit your time sheet’, ‘Getting started with Excel’. But if you’re wanting to achieve a transformational change – in other words a change in outlook and behaviour leading to improved performance – then experiential training should be your first choice, as Tony Ball, programme operations manager explains:
“All CPD programmes we offer at Lakeside are based on experiential learning. It’s a powerful method for transforming behaviours as you’re not just learning from experience, you’re learning by reflecting on experiences and developing ways to behave more effectively in the future.”
The power of experiential learning
Experiential learning places an individual in a challenging situation within a controlled and safe environment. The way the person behaves in that situation is reviewed and it’s this reflection – identifying and practicing more effective responses and behaviours – that really makes a difference.
Here’s a handful of reasons why experiential learning is so powerful
- Accelerates learning – by using critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making, the individual is actively engaged in the learning process, which research shows accelerates learning.
- Turns theory into practice – individuals have the opportunity to experiment and ‘try out’ the theories they’ve learnt in a safe and controlled environment. The more an individual practices new behaviours, the more natural they become.
- Changes mindset – experiential learning is widely accepted as having the biggest impact on changing mindset.
- Personalises learning – each individual has the opportunity to learn at their own speed and take from the experience what they need, in order to improve their own behaviours and performance.
- Greater return on investment – while the initial cost of experiential learning may be higher than some alternatives, the return on investment is much greater. Transformational learning has been shown to make individuals more effective in the workplace, leading to improved performance for the organisation.