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Experiential Learning Design: Adding Spice to Your Corporate Classroom

Sarah A Scala, M. Ed & OD, ACC
Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

“Experiential learning takes place when a person involved in an activity looks back and evaluates it, determines what was useful or important to remember, and uses this information to perform another activity.” - John Dewey

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With over 20 years of experience designing and facilitating experiential learning programs, Sarah Scala Consulting has been brought in to work with clients in multiple industries and countries. Research shows that learning is most strongly retained when people are actively engaged in it (Dale, 1946). Edgar Dale’s cone of learning shows that people retain 90% of what they do. This research supports the inclusion and use of experiential methodology and facilitation into training classrooms to make learning more engaging with improved retention.


When designing learning experiences, I often try to make learning experiential for participants. The more engaged the learners are, the higher the likelihood it is for them to remember and continue to use the new skills back on the job. This leads to a strong Return on Investment for the organization that is paying for the learning program.    

Why Experiential Learning Works?

  • Equality

  • Developing relationships quickly

  • Disequilibrium

  • Decreased time cycle

  • Meta learning

  • Chaos and crisis in a safe environment

  • Kinesthetic imprint

  • Common language / common mythology

  • Encourage risk taking

  • Diversity of strengths

  • Fun

Some ways to successfully include experiential learning into a training program include:

  • Initiatives (problem solving activities, indoor team challenges, outdoor challenges)

  • Case studies

  • Skill Practice

  • Problem Solving

  • Role Plays

  • Group Discussions

  • Reflection Journals

  • Feedback Sessions

  • Facilitated Learning

  • Debriefing

  • Art

  • Dialogue

  • Writing

Sarah Scala Consulting builds Transfer of Learning strategies into the design of all programs that often include:

  • Online Feedback Loop System

  • Follow-up Emails with Practice Assignments (short reminders of skills)

  • Program Evaluations

What ways have you used experiential learning methods in your corporate classroom?  Please share in the comments. If you have specific questions, ask me. I'm happy to help.

Learn more about our Learning Design and Team Development services.   

Questions? Let’s connect. I would love to hear your success stories. Please send them to: or visit

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