I have used experiential learning activities with groups for a long time, and they are some of my favorite activities to use with groups.  These do not necessarily have to be done on a ropes course; although, they can be.  They can be done indoors or outdoors, with no equipment or some equipment, and are very effective at getting groups to collaborate, communicate, problem-solve, and get motivated.

These are just a few reasons why you should begin to incorporate experiential learning activities in your team meetings, events, conferences, and just about any other place you can fit them in.  Besides being fun, they provide a necessary break from the mundane meetings and information-overload conferences that so many people tend to put on.  Put a little spice in your team by trying some experiential learning activities.

Reason #1: Boost your team’s motivation

Get out of the hum drum lecture-style leadership trainings and give your team something to get excited about.  Experiential learning involves students in the process of discovering more about themselves and their teammates by participating in high-touch exercises.  These activities can be fun and high energy, but can also be very intense.

I’ve seen a lot of excitement, laughs, and appreciation of team members who have been able to learn more about leadership, communication, and much more.  This kind of training can get your team that extra boost of motivation it needs.

Reason #2:  Accelerate your group’s trust

Most people have heard of trust falls and other activities that can give the heeby-jeebies to anyone with trust or boundary issues.  However, there are ways to increase trust without having to fall off a park bench into the waiting arms of your hopefully-attentive team mates.

Experiential activities can be adjusted to address just about any team issue and work to resolve it through highly participatory activities.  Trust is one of those.  There are numerous challenges and activities that can help increase a group’s trust.  Also, as teams engage together and work towards a common solution (even if the activity isn’t specifically a trust-oriented activity) the group’s trust will increase.

Reason #3: Hone your group’s communication skills

Team building activities and experiential learning exercises are great to work on team communication skills.  Many of the challenges require an efficient style of communication (planning, preparing, engaging, and problem-solving) to complete successfully.

There are also ways to modify challenges to make your team work even harder at refining their communication skills.  You can give certain team members special challenges (i.e., losing the ability to speak) to make other members of the group take on those communication roles.

Reason #4: Create “a-ha” moments for your team members

One of the things I love most about experiential activities is that it can create moments of revelation for your team.  Sometimes those moments happen during the activity.  More often, those moments occur after the activity is over – either during the debriefing time or even after the event or activity is over and the person is back in their everyday routine.

These types of activities allow for these “a-ha” moments as team members work together to accomplish challenges in an environment that allows for and encourages creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, problem-solving, and the ability to relate it back to everyday life.

Reason #5:  Increase your team performance

If you’ve accomplished reasons one through four, then chances are your team will be able to increase their performance.  If a team trusts each other, communicates more effectively, is more motivated, and knows certain issues that they need to work on, their performance will continue to improve.

Experiential learning activities can do all of this and more.  There are numerous other benefits that are not mentioned here.  They are an effective way to get your team engaged beyond normal trainings and conferences.  If you’d like to learn more about these kinds of activities, and how Lead by Adventure can work with you, contact us here.

What experiential learning activities has your team used?  What have you seen that is effective?  Talk to me, Goose!  Share in the comments below.