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The Philosophy of Experiential Education


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As Confucius said: "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."

Learning is a process that lasts throughout the lifetime of most people, not a series of finite, unrelated steps. For the optimum transfer of learning, the learner must be actively involved in the learning process, and not a passive recipient of information. Optimum success occurs when all the five senses are stimulated, especially those identified by neurolinguistic programming: the visual, the kinesthetic, and the auditory. The training facilitator serves as a change agent in the process. The trainer's role is to present information or skills or to create an environment in which exploration can take place. The participant's role is to take what is offered and apply it in a way that is relevant and best for them. The trainer's responsibility is to facilitate. The participant's responsibility is to learn.

I am always ready to learn, but I do not always like being taught. - Winston Churchill

The Experiential Learning Cycle

The experiential learning cycle comprises four stages that actively engages the participant and stimulates learning. After a practical exercise the participants are guided by a skilled facilitator through a reflective process so that abstract concepts and theory can be integrated with practical experience. Thoughts and insights are transformed into generalizations that can be applied to other situations to be tested and the cycle begins again.

The Fun of Learning

Learning is most effective when it involves active participation. Experiential learning aims not to teach concepts, skills and values, but to offer individuals opportunities to internalize and embrace ideas and ideals because they have experienced them. Outdoor activities have the potential to stretch boundaries and involve a degree of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. As a consequence, people are moved to laugh, play, and explore new ways of interacting.

I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide conditions in which they can best learn. - Albert Einstein

Why Outdoors?

The outdoors provides an unfamiliar and often unpredictable setting which serves as an excellent metaphor for the rapidly changing business environment. Roles are leveled within the team as whatever team complexities may exist, outdoor experiences place everyone on common ground. Alternative environments and unanticipated changes require a more authentic and immediate response with the tasks and the people at hand.

What Outcomes Can You Expect?

* Teamwork and team spirit * Communication and trust * Leadership and problem solving skills * Planning and goal setting * Cooperation and customer orientation

Why Can You Expect This?

Unlike many other teambuilding organizations that promote experiential education and the outdoors toward the path of learning, Corporate Synergy uses these mediums only as tools towards a greater goal. We have gone to great lengths to ensure that the purpose of our activities are not lost on our clients. You have hired us to improve your team's work dynamics and you should not have to go too deep into your imagination to figure out how success in our high ropes course will translate back to your workplace. Every one of our exercises has been developed to serve as an easily identifiable metaphor for some work-based problem. We do not ask you to climb through that spider's web simply because it is there. You and your team have to succeed at the spider's web because there is a valuable piece of the greater puzzle on the other side. And, like is the business world, there will be times when the team has to go outside itself for assistance or clarification on a problem. We strive to emphasize the importance of communication and clarification of multi-functional work teams. Not only are our programs fun and involving, but there are obvious organization development theories and models that will be easily understood, learned and remembered. Why sit through a boring indoor lecture on the theory behind this stuff when you can actually get out there and experience it?

About the Author

Mike Caldwell, B.Sc., MSM, is the owner and founder of Team Building Leadership.Com ( and Corporate Synergy Inc. ( Both entities focus on the development of corporate teams and personal leadership.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-01-18 16:50:57 in Employee Articles

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