Everyone has had a situation in their life where they did not do well, or when thinking about a situation from the past, they come to the conclusion that they would have done it better. It’s the natural reaction and it happens to everyone, in every field, at every age. We learn over time, and it’s quite obvious that we will not do everything perfect especially while doing it for the first time. It is important to appreciate the experience gained by every situation in life. Not every situation will create value, not every situation will be important, but you can draw conclusions from every given circumstance. We all make mistakes, not once, not twice, and sometimes we even have to make one mistake several times to draw the right conclusions from it. It is commonly said that you should not enter the same river twice, but Herclitus said something much wiser; No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.
Your task will be to create your individual experience based on the Kolb cycle.
Choose an experience that initially seemed negative or unsuccessful, and consider what positive aspects might have come out of it. At the end of the task, everyone will read their story one by one and listeners will be asked to write down as many positive aspects or opportunities resulting from the situation as possible, try to surprise the speaker and see if he or she will notice your observations.
Step 1: What is experiential learning?
According to BU centre of teaching & learning – Experiential learning is an engaged learning process whereby students “learn by doing” and by reflecting on the experience. It also states, that Experiential learning activities can include, but are not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, practicums, field exercises, study abroad, undergraduate research and studio performances.
For more information, check out this link:
David Kolb’s experiential learning cycle
In 1984, David Kolb developed the 4 staged experiential learning cycle based on his earlier work with theorists including John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget.
The stages include:
In the Concrete experience phase, it is either about facing a completely new situation, or referring to your own experience, something you have actually experienced yourself, actually lived through.
Reflective observation – Here we try to enter the role of an observer and look at the experience a little bit from the perspective of a third party. As Kolb himself said, the most important thing here is to notice the inconsistencies or differences between the actual experience and understanding.
Abstract conceptualisation – drawing conclusions, generalising, discovering regularities that can form a complete whole.
And finally – Active Experimentation – This is where we take our new knowledge to the real world and try to apply it in our lives. We are actually checking what will happen if we apply what we have learned.
For a better understanding of the topic, please refer to the links below:
For better understanding, do some research on a selected person that you admire, a person who has achieved considerable success. It is important that this person and their success is close to your interests. Read the stories and do some research about this chosen person, and understand how or what was their pathway to success. You might be surprised by what kind of people can have success stories. We often think that people who achieved success have had a simple path to success but that is not always the case. In fact, it is mostly a winding road full of ups, downs, making bad decisions, and risks. However, some people may not remember this and pay attention to it once they are successful.
What qualities would you assign to this person? Write down as much as you can.
Here are some links that may help you in this step:
Note for facilitator:
Make sure that everyone understands this part of the task. In case someone has trouble understanding what kind of stories they are looking for, recommend this link with examples:
Step 3: Kolb cycle, based on your experience
It is time to fill the Kolb cycle with your own experience. Remember, try to select an experience that seemed negative at first, or a bad decision, and then focus on finding the positives of the situation. Choose an experience that you will feel comfortable with sharing if someone asks you a question about it.
By filling in the appropriate fields, try to answer as many of the following questions as possible:
Describe your experience, your decisions, what happened.
How did I feel then?
What did I not like about it?
What emotions occurred by it?
What conclusion can I draw from this situation?
What has it taught me?
How can I summarize it?
How did it translate into my next actions?
How will I use the knowledge or conclusions from this experience/decision for my future actions?
You can find more information about Kolb’s Cycle by visiting the following websites:
Step 4: Group discussion and analysing the answers
It’s time for everyone to present their version of the task cycle and to present its positive aspects. Remember to answer all questions in step 3.
Listen carefully and think about what other possibilities and positive aspects might have resulted from the situation that the speaker may not have observed. Write down your observations on a piece of paper. Remember to be nice and not to judge.
If this is your first group speech or group discussion, read the following articles which will help you to overcome the stress. If at any time you feel uncomfortable with a question or part of the story, just say so, no one will judge. Remember that it is important to support each other and see the positives!
• Basic knowledge of how to reward small victories to stay motivated.
• Evaluate a time when a risk was taken, and it did not go well.
• Appreciation of the different communication skills required for groupwork and collaboration.
• Basic knowledge about the value of teamwork.
• Assess what was learned from both experiences.
• Increased regard for teamwork activities.
• Basic knowledge of communication techniques in a team-work setting.
• Recognise what has been learned as a result of taking part in value-creating ideas.
• Openness to collaborate with peers to undertake a small project or task.
• Basic knowledge about how to value learning opportunities.
• Adapt communication styles for group-work activities.
• Increased regard for the need to take risks in life.
• Openness to make mistakes when trying something new.
Every single one of us as human beings have imperfections. We each have a different story, but we have much in common. Every day we make a lot of decisions, bigger or smaller, more or less important, even without being aware of it. Thanks to these decisions we gain a lot of experience throughout our lives that we don’t even know about, because few people think about it. Thanks to this task we hope that in the future you will pay more attention to the fact that even decisions that at first seem to be wrong or unsuccessful can have many positive effects, and that thanks to them we will gain much more life experience. The ability to analyse our behaviour and admit to our mistakes is a very important step to improvement. Thanks to this, we are able to face the next difficulties of life and act in a better way. As Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Every single specialist in the world started from scratch. Some of them gained their knowledge and skills through years of learning, studies and specialized courses, others through years of practice and some through trial and error. Life is a constant state of lifelong learning. Most of us are not even aware of how much we learn every day, even when we seem to have done very little. Since childhood, we have been developing a variety of skills that are often linked to our later interests – and this can map our careers and dictate our entire professional life. Learning in all its forms brings a lot of value to our lives, and to quote John Dewey, the American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer one can say that ‘Education is a social process; education is growth; education is not preparation for life but is life itself’.
You are a trainee in a training centre. You try to learn new things all the time in order to have more skills and be able to pass on knowledge to others or to run your own business in the future. You were lucky because your boss gave you the opportunity to show off your knowledge and asked you to create an advertising campaign that will encourage young people to learn about their interests and gain experience.
Step 1: What is experiential learning?
Experiential learning, otherwise known as EXL is a process of learning through experience , and is more specifically defined as “learning by reflection on action”
This concept refers to the Kolb cycle, which says that when we master anything, we go through four phases: experimenting (actively practicing, trying); sharing observations, reflections (reproducing “what happened”, analysing); expanding and deepening knowledge (complemented by a theory supporting a given experience) and pragmatically transferring this experience to our own, everyday practice. Each person can start learning from any stage of the cycle, but in order for the transformation to take place, it is necessary to go through all phases of the cycle.
For more information on experiential learning & Kolb’s cycle visit these links:
Step 2: Understanding different styles of learning
In terms of learning, it is also worthwhile to distinguish the styles of learning according to Kolb’s theory. They are based on two major dimensions:
David Kolb and Roger hair defined 4 learning styles:
The divergent style – characterized by great imagination, easy generation of ideas, looking from different perspectives, focusing on people and wide interest in culture.
The convergence style – characterised by the ability to put ideas into practice, focus on deductive reasoning and reduced sensitivity as well as limited interests.
The accommodator style – characterized by a high willingness to take action and readiness to take risks, ability to act in situations requiring immediate response, intuitive approach to solving problems.
The assimilation style – is characterized by the ability to easily create theoretical models based on inductive reasoning and more focus on abstract ideas than on people.
For more information please visit the following links:
At this point, it is time for you to meet with your group and have a brainstorming session to generate great ideas! The business dictionary defines brainstorming as a process for generating creative ideas, and solutions through intensive and freewheeling group discussion.
Try to answer the following questions:
What information should be included in such social advertising?
What slogan will you choose?
What would encourage you to develop your skills and learn?
Here are some tips on how to make an successful online brainstorming session:
Write down all participants’ ideas on the board and encourage them to participate and join in the dialogue. In case participants do not have any ideas themselves, explain to them that they can explore the internet for examples of social campaigns.
Step 4: Online research & mind mapping
It is time to undertake some online research on how to make a campaign advertisement. There are many different sources of information and advice, so it is important to review a few, and individually select the ideas that you think will make your campaign reach the most people. Remember, however, that the final result should be in line with what you have set out in the group step above!
Write down your ideas which you will follow in the next step using the mind mapping technique – this allows you to generate better ideas and notice better connections between them
Here are some of the websites that explain the concept of mind mapping, and pages where you can create your own unique mind map:
Now that you have generated a lot of great ideas and done your online research, it’s time for everyone to make their own individual campaign ads. Stick to pre-established rules with the group, and create your own campaign that will create value and encourage people to keep learning!
If this is your first time doing such an exercise, don’t worry – this is an example of learning by experience! You will gain new skills that will certainly be useful in the future. Note for facilitator: Make sure that each participant is dealing with the campaign tool of his or her choice. Remind them of the essence of this exercise and that it does not have to be
perfect because many of them may never have done such a task before – it is about learning through experience!
Create your campaigns with the help of free online tools such as the following:
Finally, It is time to present your own campaigns one by one and have a group discussion.
Each speaker should imagine that he or she is presenting this campaign to their boss – as described in the task! You don’t have to address the rest of the participants as “bosses”, or make it formal – just try to visualize that you are practicing presenting an idea to your boss – it will be an extra skill and an example of learning by experience!
If this is your first group presentation or if you are feeling nervous, read the advice below to help you overcome it and the tips on how to present the idea to your supervisor:
After everyone has finished presenting their campaigns, it is time for a group reflection and discussion. The facilitator leads the discussion, and asks questions based on the Kolb cycle. If you have any thoughts or reflections that concern you or your peers’ ideas don’t hesitate to voice them now, but remember to be nice and not judge others. Also, don’t forget the importance of teamwork and active listening. It’s crucial that every person is listened to and has enough time to express their opinion without being interrupted or judged.
During the discussion make sure that everyone has shared their opinion and answered the following questions:
Describe your experience when making a campaign – was it a big challenge?
What did you like/not like about this activity?
What conclusion can you draw from this activity?
What has it taught you?
How will I use the knowledge or conclusions from this experience/decision for my future actions?
• Factual knowledge about reflective practice in a group-work activity.
• Develop an idea to create value through a community project.
• Willingness to share knowledge and support peers to learn.
• Factual knowledge about how to prioritise tasks.
• Initiate value-creating activities in a group activity.
• Willingness to reflect on learning to determine its value.
• Basic knowledge about idea generation techniques in a group setting.
• Participate in group idea generation activities.
• Openness to engage in peer-learning and collaborative learning activities with peers.
• Basic knowledge of how to initiate processes to create value for a community project.
• Participate in a collaborative project with peers
• Participate in group reflection activities to assess the value of learning.
• Reflect and judge achievements and failures and learn from past experiences.
Congratulations! You have just created a social advertisement that is of great value! Awareness of the essence of science and experience is very important and conducive to our development.
And as B.B. King said: “The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”