Experiential Learning – A journey of discovery for an Introvert
12 Jun 2017

Experiential Learning – A journey of discovery for an Introvert


categories: Events, Experiential Learning, People, ProfitAbility Business, Simulations Solutions

When I need to understand something I ask; Can you…

  • show me?
  • draw that for me?
  • stay there while I try it?

I’ve always known I learn best through visual examples and on the job experience. So why have I avoided experiential learning for so long?  It’s not difficult for me to answer that.

Why I have avoided experiential learning

The bad experience

Year 1 of my Degree in Adult Education I took a course on just that – ‘Experiential Learning’ – and it was horrible.

I can’t tell you now what the objective of this particular exercise was but on one Saturday morning, having worked all week attempting to deliver respectful and effective training, I found myself crawling on the floor of a University with a post-it note stuck to my forehead making elephant noises.

People around me were genuinely enjoying the experience. They were waking from their Saturday grogginess with excitement and a relief that finally the lecturer was speaking their language.  They laughed and suggested drinks after class, energised by the experience.  Meanwhile I cringed and felt a pull to my sofa, my dog and a glass of wine.

I decided I was definitely not a fun, easy going person who embraced new ideas and opportunities. I felt disappointed that I couldn’t ‘step up’ to the occasion.

The course ran along a similar theme for its duration. I accepted then that Experiential Learning is for Extroverts. If I ever came across an organisation where 100% of staff rated high on the extroversion scale, then I would certainly look into it again…..

What happened next?

Put simply, I finished the degree and continued with my career in Learning and Development. All the while enjoying the mix of Facilitation and Coaching and looking for ways to add fun to learning content.

On Project Management courses I brought participants through example projects to practice the tools and techniques. The 3 day Agile course became 3 days in an Agile environment. We used every tool repetitively – allowing participants to practice in a safe environment with coaching feedback available.  To ‘book lead’ leadership courses, I focused on group exercises and feedback scenarios.

When it changed

While still believing I was avoiding Experiential Learning I was sufficiently intrigued by an invitation to an Open Day.

I went along and learned through participation in simulations run by professionals.  They wanted to support me rather than embarrass me. They wanted me to move outside of my comfort zone without relishing in my discomfort and trusted the process they perfected to ensure my day was filled with light bulb moments.

I am sure every person in the room that day had a different learning experience. That being said, whatever their personality and learning style, I bet they can’t remember learning so much in such a short space of time – while also enjoying the experience.

Aha, now I get it!!!

Experiential Learning in action: The Business Essentials simulation Showcasing Experiential Learning: The Business Essentials simulation from ProfitAbility.

Connect with the author

Aoife Morley | Blog Author: Experiential Learning – A journey of discovery for an Introvert.

Aoife (Ee-fa) Morley

Business & Learning Consultant, ProfitAbility

Creating a lasting impact through experiential learning in areas such as Business Essentials, Leadership and Change.

I work closely with clients to understand the problems impacting their business and what they need to achieve for change to happen within their organisations. Using simulations and gamification of learning, I have the pleasure of facilitating that change in behaviour and reaching learning and business objectives.

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