The Internet has seen a recent trend in online training courses. Companies like Udemy, Coursera, and Lynda offer flexible, online group training for schools, businesses, and government organizations.
While this trend offers benefits like universal access and flexible scheduling, it lacks the ability to imitate real life situations. They also limit the additional benefits of team interaction that comes with face-to-face training. Studies show in-person training that integrates experiential learning still remains the most effective way of delivering high performing employees.
Experiential learning is simply learning through experience, and further, reflecting on that experience. It requires a certain “learning by doing” element, which has proven to be the most accelerated and lasting way to attain knowledge. It is far more effective than the conventional way which is “learning by reading”.
Companies whose performance often depends on successful training courses rely on those that integrate experiential learning because of the behavioral changes they bring.
Steve Gates, CEO of The Gap Partnership, an industry expert in negotiation training and courses, explains how these training courses are still regarded by companies and organizations as the most effective way to change behavior and improve performance.
Perhaps there are certain professional skills which cannot be attained only by theory. As Henry Mintzberg, the Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University puts it, “Leadership, like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it.”
The benefits of training courses, and, more specifically, experiential learning, lie in the teaching approach. Experiential learning is a hands-on approach to mastering that which you seek to learn. This method has been shown to accelerate learning due to its methodology, which uses critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making to produce demonstrable mindset changes.
Simulating Real-Life Situations
Within the professional world, experiential training courses are most attractive to companies because they allow participants to simulate real life situations, and actually experience what it’s like to perform in similar scenarios. The courses are aimed at delivering sustained behavioral changes, the benefits of which participants continue to feel long after the training is completed.
Companies that choose to invest in experiential training courses additionally benefit from the improvement of team dynamics. When employees participate in a training course as a group, the responsibility of the outcome is shared amongst participants, promoting a sense of teamwork. Attendees also feel more obligated to attend, protecting the ROI of the activity, because the commitment is no longer individual.
Learning as a group increases engagement levels as the focus is on collaborating and learning from each other. This fosters team building skills where attendees work towards a mutual goal and benefit from group feedback. The benefits of these team buildings experiences will be welcomed around the office long after the training has ended.
There are a variety of courses professionals can attend. Those involving experiential learning, however, will always deliver higher trainee performance. This is owed to the method’s ability to bridge the gap between theory and practice, which plays a crucial role in the retention of concepts and ideas.
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