Gallop ahead of your rivals
EXPERIENTIAL learning is increasing in popularity as workers seek to develop employability skills outside the classroom.
High-adrenalin activities, such as skydiving and bungee jumping, and even animalbased experiences are increasingly being used to teach skills including leadership, teamwork and problem-solving.
Unleashed-Unlimited director Andrew Dawson believes skills learned through experiences are likely to stay with workers far longer than tips gleaned through taking a course or listening to an oral presentation.
“Typically, in a keynote presentation … [the learning benefits] can be fleeting,’’ Dawson says.
“Attendees feel good at the time [about applying what they have heard], but it doesn’t last.
“To benefit, you need to participate and practise the skills yourself, rather than just hear about them.”
He says that through activities involving helicopters, abseiling and kayaking, workers in his programs are challenged to move outside their comfort zone and learn skills that can be immediately transferred to the workplace.
Emma Kirkwood, co-owner of Frontier Leadership Training, which uses horses to teach leadership principles, says experiential learning takes training back to its grassroots.
“Working with horses … is a highly effective way of teaching behaviour flexibility, increasing emotional intelligence and building rapport,’’ Kirkwood says.
“Good leaders are the people that the team wants to follow, as opposed to having to follow.
“Horses don’t care about your ego, pay packet or title — they follow you because you are the safe place and a good place to be.”
Institute for Leadership Coaching principal Dr Darryl Cross warns those considering experiential learning should first research how the activities can be integrated into the workplace.
“There would be some employers out there that would prefer candidates to have the more traditional forms of training,” he says.
“But at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which training you do. If you can demonstrate you have the skills you say you have, then that’s all you need.”
Beverley Royes, talent acquisition head at fund manager Perpetual, says equine-assisted leadership training increased her selfawareness of how her responses affected those around her.
“Either [the horse] was with me or he wasn’t, and if he wasn’t, I could change my body language,” she says.