I came across recently a clip about an experiential learning activity around the topic ‘understanding the others’. It makes me re-examine my own view on experiential learning.
First, I really felt moved when I watched the video. When I imagined to be one of the kids there and followed one instruction after another, I pictured myself among the kids in the front. I believed that I would have a big ‘aha’ as I turned and looks face to face to those at the back. I would particularly be shocked when the host said ‘…everything I said has nothing to do with what you have done…’ The resulting visual impact was huge. In addition, when the front kids were really running, the feeling of excitement and mixed feeling about those at the back would probably enhance learning transfer a great deal. It is such a well-designed activity – simple and to the point.
Yet, I still have my usual doubt on such activity which is designed and run with an intended (or even imposed) conclusion. In particular:
- In a way, the activity was like a ‘set-up’ e.g. to embarrass those kids in the front. In the video, they all seemed to follow the instructions with enjoyment. But I cannot help imagine some would guess mid-way what the activity was about already, and became resentful. In short, the host was not exploring together with them but in a way tricking them into some specific experience / sensation.
- This would impact not just this activity but also the remaining event. The participants may trust the host less.
- The experience would be quite ‘dark’ for those at the back. I believe those some containment afterward is needed.
On the whole, I think it is probably less a concern for teenagers than experienced executives. The latter is likely to be more sceptical about things and others.