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What is experiential training?

Experiential Training typically involves participants in a series of physical and mental exercises, they are asked to complete tasks in a certain amount of time within a simulated environment which is designed to represent certain aspects of work. This allows for an environment where the participants can learn by doing activities which is a significantly different experience from the traditional training techniques. Training utilizing this approach can provide a safe environment for the participants to carry out their tasks and where they can learn from their experiences.

Experiential training can also be combined with other traditional forms of training such as lectures or presentations. This can actually improve the effectiveness of experiential training. For example, participants can attend a lecture or presentation providing them with best practice principles regarding working in effective teams prior to participating in the experiential portion of the training. This allows them to utilize the knowledge they have learnt and apply them to the activities. As participants will be more likely to learn, retain and generalize the information picked up when it can be directly related to their personal experiences, this is one of the significant advantages for providing experiential training.

Experiential training is most beneficial for participants who tend to be kinaesthetic learners, meaning that they learn best by doing. Common applications for experiential training can be in areas such as team building and leadership development.