The experiential learning toolkit

The new learning architect

Over the past year we have been publishing extracts from The New Learning Architect. We continue with the third and last part of chapter 10:

Top-down approaches

There are many ways in which an organisation can encourage experiential learning on a top-down basis::


Project reviews

Action learning

Job enrichment

Job rotation

Performance appraisals

Continuous improvement

Optimising the working environment

Bottom-up approaches

Employees can also take the initiative themselves when it comes to experiential learning and in many cases this happens quite naturally, as individuals reflect on successes and failures, and talk things over with colleagues, friends and family. The following are additional bottom-up initiatives which can be actively facilitated by employers:


Getting a life

Conditions for success

Experiential learning happens whether we plan for it or not, but it will only thrive in a supportive culture. That means:

  • a culture that encourages innovation and accepts that mistakes are an inevitable consequence of this;
  • a culture that does not seek to apply blame or find scapegoats when initiatives fail;
  • a culture in which mistakes from which lessons have been learned are valued as highly as successes;
  • a culture that is always looking to learn lessons from the successes and failures of other, comparable organisations;
  • a culture in which employees are regularly exposed to new and unfamiliar situations, in order that they can develop and grow;
  • a culture in which employees are encouraged to reflect openly on their work experiences;
  • a culture that values the participation of all employees in its quest to change and improve;
  • a culture that appreciates the importance of diverse out-of-work experiences and encourages a healthy work-life balance.

This culture starts from the top.

Coming next: Chapter 11 – Putting the model to use

Return to Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9

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About Clive Shepherd

Clive Shepherd has written 244 post in this blog.

Clive is a consultant specialising in the application of technology to learning and business communications. He was previously Director of Training and Creative Services for a multinational corporation and co-founder of a major multimedia development company. For four years he was chair of the eLearning Network.

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