Boardroom blues? Try experiential learning
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As a trainer for experiential learning programs (ELPs) for the past 14 years, I have witnessed that in almost 95 per cent cases, the attendees of an ELP develop a higher sense of gratitude and appreciation towards their employer, realizing that the outbound-training program is not only for their professional productivity growth, but may also have contributed immensely to their personality development, making them better human beings, a better family person and a humble citizen. Here are four reasons you should consider training outside the boardroom.
It’s fun, fun, fun
Experiential learning, quite simply, is learning by doing. It is a new-age manpower development technique, and involves a combination of outdoor activities and debriefing sessions. The main benefit of this, vis-a-vis traditional in-room training, is that here the mind opens up, is free to think, interact and not just listen. There is a higher level of attentiveness since the body and mind both are involved all the time. Thus, no slouching, no caricature drawing, and no hyper anxiety for the drinks and dinner to be laid. There is a high sense of excitement in the air, lots of laughter, lots of fun, and lots of learning that is not shoved inside but trickles in naturally. I call this organic learning.
Value for money
From an entrepreneur's perspective, ELP may also work out lighter on the pocket. A typical training session/ leadership session with a motivation guru/ speaker may set an entrepreneur back by anything between Rs 25,000 and Rs one lakh per session, and that is for the talk only. On the other hand, a good ELP with a qualified trainer (and not fly-by-night operators) may cost as little as Rs 7,000 to Rs 9,500 per participant -- all inclusive, including camping, all meals and adventure sports, along with the services of a well-qualified senior outdoor educator/ experiential learning trainer.
Stress is one the biggest challenges of modern life. And yet, not much is discussed about it. No amount of pubbing, conferences and in-room training sessions can help de-stress and develop a positive lifestyle change as experiential learning. An entrepreneur can, thus, gain not just personally by attending such programs but also by getting back a charged up, happier lot of people who would have returned after, say, attending a three-day ELP combined with rock-climbing, bird-watching, yoga and meditation, white-water rafting, camping, and trekking.
Every step of living outdoors is fun and learning. For instance, for some of our clients, we take the entire team for a night out, deep in a dense pine and cedar forest with limited resources. They pitch their own tents, helped in preparing food, make a small bonfire out of dried, fallen twigs and return to the base camp on the day without leaving a trace of any garbage or anything that should not belong to the forests. Exercises such as these have deep, multiple benefits for the attendees -- from respect for nature, to managing things with limited resources, to forming strong bonds with fellow teammates.
(As told to Prerna Raturi)