Experiential learning occurs when a person engages in an activity, analyses his/her performance critically, learns some useful insight from the analysis, and puts the result to work through a change in behaviour.
Stage 1: Experiencing
The first stage in an outdoor training session is to generate the experience or in more technical terms, the data. This is done with the help of a fun activity that includes the involvement of all members of the team. Facilitators take care to ensure that teams are as involved as possible, for only then will they be able to take-away substantial learning from the session.
Stage 2: Sharing/Publishing
The second stage is akin to data sharing, where participants are willing to share their experiences. The intention of this stage is to present the experience of every individual to the group, sensitising them to different perceptions, even to the same game/activity. This step involves finding out what happened at cognitive, affective, and behavioral levels during the course of the activity to every individual and to the group at large.
Stage 3: Processing
Here is where the effect of experiential training will be impacted. This stage will be the ‘group dynamics’ phase of the cycle, where participants will attempt to answer the question “What actually happened?”. The event will be visualised to thoroughly understand each aspect, thus critically assessing individual and group performance.
Stage 4: Generalising
Here, participants are encouraged to map the inferences to their everyday work life. They are encouraged to identify situations in their every life, where such learning's can be impacted. The intention is to make generalisations that are true to ’what tends to happen’, not ‘what happened in this particular group at one instance’.
Stage 5: Applying
This stage marks the final result of the entire activity. Facilitators will help participants understand various situations where inferences can be applied, thus encouraging them to make a behavioural change.