Tag Archives: experiential learning

Training Design from an Experiential vs Thinking Place

Last week, I facilitated our Mastering Training Design course. In this 4MAT train the trainer workshop, one of the things we explore is the difference between sharing information from an experiential (feeling) place versus a thinking (intellectual) place.

By the second day of this course, participants are digging in and developing their own training designs using the 4Mat 8-step model. Before we work on the real-world course content that participants bring with them, we ask the trainers in our workshop to create a training design on one of two community awareness topic: “be physically active” or “quit smoking”. I am amazed at how quickly trainers can move into designing truly experiential learning. Designing experiential learning involves much more than adding activities. It is the art of eliciting and, sometimes creating, powerful personal experiences in the learner.

I discovered a video created by the Sussex Safer Roads Project on Nancy Duarte’s blog. The commercial is a powerful example of how an experience can be created in seconds. When I watched the video on my living room couch, my 6-year old asked “What’s wrong, Mommy?” You should know that I can be moved by a good dog food commercial. Emotional reaction is not uncommon in my living room. Even knowing this, I was surprised by the universal reaction of the trainers in the room. 

Before you watch the video, take a look at the slide presentation below that I found on www.slideshare.net. This is a typical way that any trainer might approach this subject from a “thinking” place. Then, watch the video and experience what information sharing feels like from a experiential/feeling place. 

Sharing information from a “thinking” place:

Sharing information from a “feeling” place:

Are you crafting experiences or making some "thing"

coffee cup

“Simply roasting coffee, brewing it, or pouring it into a cup for someone is merely the performance of a simple service. In the absence of a wider, experiential understanding, all you’re doing is putting a hot liquid into a mug.”

-Lewis P Carbone, Clued In:  How to Keep Customers Coming Back Again and Again

If you had to describe how you want your customers to feel after an interaction with you or your company in three words, what would those three words be? We are talking about how they feel, not what they think about the interaction.

Training and Development is focused on impacting behaviors that drive business results. When training is primarily focused on doing, we miss the biggest part of how consumers evaluate an experience with a company. To craft a brand-defining experience, every employee must have a concrete understanding of  the bigger concept of what is being delivered to the customer.

Apple understands this concept. I have lost count of how many times I have heard the word “cool” used by a Mac owner to describe their brand experience.

What words would your customers use to describe their experience?