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90% of training is lost without practice, so why waste your money on training that just doesn't stick?

The Case For Experiential Training - Part One

The art of forum theatre ...

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According to cognitive science expert Art Kohn, within a week, people forget an average of 90 percent of the information that is presented to them during a traditional training course ...

If I've sold you on experiential training, how can you add it into your training programs?

If I've sold you on experiential training, how can you add it into your training programs?

copyright: dramatic training solutions

So, what's the alternative? Well, we believe that it's high-impact, experiential training sessions that engage participants on every single level. Below, I've listed six ways our experiential training beats traditional training every time.

  1. It Produces Long-lasting Results

    Recent brain scans of students revealed that more parts of the brain are activated while they were engaged in experiential training and more of the information stuck as a result. Experiential training methods involve a 'hands-on' approach to training.

    Participants remain actively engaged throughout, which makes them far more likely to internalise the training and recall it long after the training session ends.

  2. It's Customisable

    Experiential training works so well because it mimics the actual work environment, the way your colleagues interact with one another on a day-to-day basis, and if you wanted to go further why not use professional actors in demos, forum theatre, and business simulations?

  3. It Won't Put Participants to Sleep

    This may seem like an obvious point, but it's a classic pitfall of traditional training methods - they're just too boring. Make sure your training is dynamic, challenging, but most of all fun!

  4. It Provides a Safe Space to Fail

    Yes, experiential training simulates a real work environment, but it's just that ... a simulation. This simulated, safe environment provides participants with the all-too-rare opportunity to take risks, even if they result in failure since failure in this instance isn't tied to real-world consequences.

    Having your colleagues try and fail during an experiential training session can provide them with valuable insights without mangling the company's bottom line.

  5. It Helps Form Healthy Work Habits

    You can learn the key points of good communication, for example, from a PowerPoint presentation, but traditional training methods won't help you make communicating thoughtfully a practised habit. Habits only form when people are motivated to make them stick, and experiential learning programs can build in that motivation.

    For example, people are often motivated to perform certain tasks only if they can get immediate feedback. During an experiential training session, you're able to provide immediate feedback, which motivates participants to practice the new habit.

  6. It Strengthens the Team Bond

    With experiential learning, the strengthening of team bonds is often an unintended, yet welcome side effect. Experiential training involves participants not just learning together, but 'doing' together. Hours of interaction in a safe, supportive, and fun environment can do wonders to boost team morale and bring team members closer together.

If I've sold you on experiential training, how can you add it into your training programs? Below is a really great way to introduce it in a non-threatening way, we will explore other ways in part 2 of this series.

"Forum Theatre - What is it?"

Forum theatre comprises of several scenarios that are acted out by professional actors, while employees watch. The scenarios are based on issues that the staff has to deal with regularly, such as a sales call, dealing with a difficult customer or give a staff member feedback.

However, the staff can get involved in the scenarios as directors of the scene and if they want to, they can even step in and replace the actor as participants. Staff can tell the actors what to do, try parts of the scenario again, and get the actors to use different tones of voice or responses ... the possibilities are endless. This allows the staff to make the scenario as close to ones that they have to deal with as possible, and help them to clarify their own experiences.

"Forum theatre allows complex issues to be dealt with easily, while also allowing a degree of subtly into the mix as well!"

The scenes can be either scripted or improvised, and as long as the actors are good enough, staff attending a training session using forum theatre will learn way more than from a standard presentation based training session. We use this intervention a lot in our training, as it is a soft way to get people used to working with actors and it can be extremely powerful.

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to find out more about experiential training and our forum theatres then do give me a call on 01908 511 062 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


More about Debra Stevens ...

I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.

I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.

I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.


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