Experience Based Learning - Outdoors

three-menAll programmes place great emphasis on exploring the principles of good leadership and management practice using an experience based method of learning.

When the outdoors is available for experience based learning, we treat this environment as an ‘extension to the classroom'. All the exercises are therefore designed to deliver a particular learning outcome and care is taken that they do not become an end in themselves – however enjoyable the experience!

In the learning cycles which form the building blocks of any programme, practical tasks are used as metaphors for the world of work. In the review sessions which follow, the group is encouraged to examine the process by which the task was (or was not) achieved. These observations are then used as a springboard for discussing underpinning concepts that are relevant to the topic.

Finally, with the benefit of both experience and fresh ideas, the group undertakes a further exercise, providing an opportunity to apply the learning.

At all stages of review, parallels are drawn between what is happening in the exercise and what happens in people's experiences at work – what processes or behaviours are in common with both the exercise and their work, and are the consequences similar in nature. Furthermore, what impact would the applied changes have, if carried forward to their work environment.

The exercises themselves vary enormously according to the nature of the programme and the environment available, but could include short, focused team leadership activities ‘on the lawn', as well as complex projects extending in stages throughout the day. Typically, however, a programme which uses the outdoors would include around a third of the time ‘doing', a third ‘reviewing' and a third exploring concepts, work parallels and personal change.

Actors play an important part in all major exercises, lending authenticity to the task and a further dimension of the unexpected.

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Programmes are designed to
accomodate different learning styles