Experiential learning

Experiential learning is a powerful way of education that fosters numerous benefits. We truly believe that going through an experience, will result in a better and longer lasting understanding. What is experiential learning exactly? And why should it be implemented? In this article, Inchainge discusses everything you need to know about experiential learning.

What is experiential learning?

Experiential learning facilitates the development of leadership skills. It helps bridging the gap between acquisition of theoretical knowledge and generation of skills through active participation in learning. Especially when it is applied in a team based learning setting.

Experiential learning is a powerful way of learning. It gives much deeper understanding, a much longer retention, and much more fun and energy during learning.

Experiential learning differs from learning in a traditional method in several ways.

  1. Learners are encouraged to manage their own learning rather than being told what to do.
  2. Learning does not necessarily only take place in classrooms or by reading.
  3. It is not a one-way learning style where knowledge only flows from educators to learners. Instead, learners are encouraged to actively participate in the learning process and knowledge flows in various directions. In a team based setting the learners learn from each other.

Applying a learning cycle like the one described by Kolb or Klabbers addresses different learning styles. This creates the right mix and sequence of learning interventions.

What are the benefits of experiential learning?

Experiential learning has several benefits, these are:

  1. deeper understanding of the subject
  2. ensuring longer retention
  3. it is more fun
  4. it is energizing

All of these are explained below.

Experiential learning creates a deeper understanding

Experiential learning is a powerful and proven approach to teaching and learning that is based on one incontrovertible reality: people learn best through experience. This is also expressed in the 70 20 10 learning framework. It explains what the optimal sources of learning are. Its main promise is that people obtain about 70 percent of their knowledge from experiences related to their job.

Experiential learning ensures longer retention

Compared to listening or seeing, an experience creates a much stronger effect in retaining the learning. Especially business game experiences tend to create a learning message for years or even longer.

The Learning Effect. How much do you retain when listening, seeing or experiencing?

Experiential learning is more fun and energizing

Creating high energy levels for learners is important. Both in a professional and educational setting. This results in much higher completion rates and higher valued courses. This is becoming even more important in the growing trend of online learning.


The only time I have trouble getting my students out of the classroom is when we’re playing The Fresh Connection

Dr. Roberto Perez-Franco,
Director, MIT Supply Chain Strategy Lab
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Want to know more?

Now you know everything about experiential learning. Do you want to participate in experiential learning with one of Inchainge’s business games? Have a look at our business simulation games right here.