The Discovery ‘App’ for Experiential Learning and Employee Engagement

Posted by Paradigm Learning on July 16, 2015

There is no precedent for what we are now seeing in the digital age. Information and technology platforms are multiplying at such a high rate of speed that only the world’s most powerful supercomputers can keep up with it. Yet, despite the vast amount of changes going on around us, the people who work with us remain very much the same.

Work habits don’t automatically upgrade to become more efficient even though information systems have. Ingrained behaviors and beliefs in people cause them to resist conformity even though they are surrounded by it. Least encouraging of all is the fact that employees who were slow to fully embrace new initiatives in the past will likely remain just as indifferent in the future.

Even IBM’s “Watson” might lose some sleep trying to crack the code.

So, what should savvy leaders do short of any newly identified insight, rhyme or reason?

Some old school wisdom seems appropriate: experiential learning. One nugget about its impact comes from author Michael Robin, who suggested more than ten years ago:

“[Among] the clearest impacts on organizational productivity from ‘experience-based learning’ can be seen in higher levels of retention, which ultimately, results in a greater transfer of knowledge into informed action. While retention levels from traditional learning from lectures and reading are typically just three-to-five percent, retention levels with experience-based learning have been known to reach 80-90 percent.”

Now that’s more in the ballpark.

Our view from the good seats tells us three things about any change initiative that involves learning:

People must change how they think. They aren’t going to do it alone. Learners require guidance, but not instructor-driven lecturing. It takes a team-based effort to ensure peer reinforcement, building on each insight together as a group.

People must change how they act. Learning is cyclical by nature and only implemented by choice. Employees require time for reflection and internalization for learning to ‘stick.’

People must ‘buy-in’ to the importance of the initiative. If they believe in the ‘big picture,’ they will come to nurture it by developing new mental models and mindsets.

Mobile devices have become the way of the world, but the world still remains very stuck in its ways. It might be an old-school approach, but experiential or discovery learning is a time-tested and proven approach for engaging employees on every organizational level.

If we’ve learned nothing else, we know there is no ‘app’ for that.

What are your thoughts on discovery learning? Give us a download of what you’re seeing and let’s begin a discussion.   

Topics: Experiential Learning, Employee Engagement