What is Experiential Training?

Traditionally, academic skills are taught at school or university. But soft skills are grossly overlooked. These can include: self-confidence, adaptability, creativity, team spirit, leadership or things a like. An entire set that builds up an individual’s personality or attitude in a very positive way.

Although more and more training companies claim to provide skill set courses, they mainly expand on topics and lessons the participants have learnt at school/university. In this modular process, lecturers are active and trainees passive. They just sit and wait to receive input. That’s where “Experiential Education” comes in. In an Experiential Training process, the participants are made to “feel” the subject, rather than sitting down and listening. They will use all their senses to feel a difference in themselves. As a result, they can unleash the potential skills they might have never exploited.   

Most top gurus in salesmanship and entrepreneurship in the US, conduct most of the trainings, either on site or online, in an experiential setting. For example, participants are required to role-play every possible scenario they will encounter in their work or business. The scene is recorded on video. Thereafter, the participants will scrutinize and discuss the mistakes they made and how to remedy them. In corporate Singapore, more and more companies send their staff to such Experiential Trainings to hone up their “soft skills” to give them the competitive edge in today’s “global village’. As another example, everybody fears glass. No doubt a piece of glass can cut you if you’re not careful enough. However, experiential trainers will ask trainees to “feel” it in such a way that it no longer scares them away! It’s not that the fear is totally deleted but that they can CONTROL and OVERCOME it.

After successfully completing the process, the trainees will feel more confident about themselves, and will be more prepared to handle unexpected situations in their work and personal life better. In short, experiential training can bring about the following benefits:

– Have a clear direction in life,

– Increase analytical and communication skills,

– Increase initiative and passion towards your work,

– Empathize more with organizational policies and colleagues in the workplace,

– Appreciate the organization (and boss!) better,

– Be more responsible in their lives. 

These are some of the end results Experiential Training companies will base on to develop their simulations. Simply put, they are aimed at changing the attitude of a person. When their attitude is changed, their performance will be different from before. So will their life in all aspects– be it personal, professional or social. 

By Sum Sithen 

Mr Sithen is a motivational trainer and business development manager with DreamMakers International (DMI), a HR Developer company based in Singapore and operating in Indochina, including Cambodia. If you wish to learn more how Experiential Education works for you, please contact him at 012 684 955 or dmihrd@gmail.com.


One Response to What is Experiential Training?

  1. One of the reasons experiential training is effective is that it adds some reality to training. There’s a big difference between the classroom and on the job.

    I can sum it up with the words of the great American Philosopher Mike Tyson.

    “Everybody’s got a plan unti they get hit.”

    Being in front of a customer for the first time isn’t the same as it was during a role play. At that point all the training either goes out the window or the person learns how to actually use it.

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