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Can I use Experiential Learning Tools Activities with Senior Leaders?

A response to a client enquiry about using ELT

16th November 2022

Can I use Experiential Learning Tools Activities with Senior Leaders?
Client Enquiry:

Can I use your activities with senior leaders?

Our Response
1. Even senior leaders like to get engaged with their learning, and selecting challenging problem-solving activities can be a great way of getting engagement and effective learning. Colourblind®(online version) is a useful example as the original physical version has been used for over 30 x years with senior leaders - experience there suggests that the more senior the group the more difficult they find the activity. Why? Well, the observed behaviour suggests that they are more often 'waiting to speak' than actively listening to each other. Without active listening, communicating difficult concepts, cooperative problem solving, and strong team performance is more challenging. They also tend to be risk averse in many cases, not open to alternatve suggestions from others and therefore often disagree about the process; compared to young people who are far more open to experimental problem solving approaches and tolerant of others' suggestions.

We know through testing and client feedback over the last couple of years that the online version of Colourblind® provides a similar degree of challenge to the original physical version from RSVP Design Ltd.

2. Using non-threatening cartoon imagery is an excellent way to get high quality dialogue established within teams and groups. Senior leaders often need to learn to be more playful in their approach to problem-solving, and more genuine in their communication. RSVP Design have used cartoon imagery for many years with senior leaders - provided the context and learning outcomes sought are business-related there is no problem in using experiential learning methods.

We have often seen major breakthroughs using these methods where more traditional learning approaches have failed - using, for example, the Images of Organisations Experiential Learning Activity. Using a set of cartoon images like Images of Organisations is a great way to quickly get to the core of organisational issues that require to be addressed by senior management. Look out for a digital version of this product appearing on this ELT platform soon!

Use metaphor and imagery when it is important to build strong dialogue to develop learning. Both ends of the organisation engage easily with it - either it builds confidence and develops communications skills in young people; or removes jargon and platitudes and helps Executives develop honest and deep dialogue. It is often easy to build in reflection time when using metaphor and imagery in learning - take advantage of the opportunity to build this important factor in learning to learn!

Graham @experientialLT

A core member of the ELT Team

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