In June 2017 we [All Lined Up] were joined by Graham Cook and Geoff Cox of RSVP Design, for a workshop on the essentials of experiential learning.
They brought many of RSVP Design’s bestselling products, along with their expert knowledge on the field, and led a very successful workshop that was thoroughly enjoyed by all of the participants.
The foundations and core principles of RSVP Design’s activities, and the design of their learning programmes, are based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle. A theory which dictates that learning through experience should be emphasized with 4 main stages:
- Experience / Do
- Reflect / Review
- Conclude / Understand
- Apply & Test
RSVP Design’s experiential activities provide the ‘Experience / Do’ part of the cycle, and the rest is completed during the reflection & review that follows. The facilitator should offer a structured review to allow learners to understand their experience and draw personal learning from it. Graham Cook & Geoff Cox focused on the Kolb Cycle throughout the Essentials of Experiential Learning Workshop.
We started the day with Images of Organisations, an image-based metaphor game that worked well as an introductory and icebreaker activity. The variation of positive and negative images helped instigate feedback and conversation among the group, which allowed our less confident, younger participants to easily open up among their seniors, and vice versa. With the help of the images, the participants were able to speak freely and frankly about their career in regards to where they are now and where they want to be in the future.
Graham and Geoff then introduced us to Workstations, a small playing card sized effective problem solving and team building activity. The cards were distributed between the participants, and they were instructed to keep their cards to themselves and only use verbal communication with each other to solve a matrix style problem. The aim of Workstations was to solve a problem with limited information and it reinforced the importance of collaboration and cooperation within teams.
Later on in the day, we used another communications activity called Simbols. In Simbols, participants must use only verbal communication to solve a complicated puzzle. There is only one solution to the problem and they only have one chance to solve it. Our participants thoroughly enjoyed using Simbols, and it was fantastic to watch it in use as it highlighted the issues that can arise when there are different cultural references and language styles.
One of the most effective activities that we used was Colourblind, which managed to thoroughly involve all of the participants – even those who were just observing! The fantastic use of blindfolds meant that the importance of clear and concise communication was rammed home in a fun, friendly and educational manner. Geoff used the ‘Action Replay’ app on his iPad to create a map that allowed us to see how interaction and communication flowed between the participants. It highlighted the natural leaders of the group and showed us who was lacking confidence at the start of the activity and how that confidence grew as the activity progressed. The ‘Action Replay’ app was an incredibly useful and highly educational addition to the activity.
The next activity that we were introduced to was Sequencer. Sequencer is a more physical problem solving activity that involves using wooden planks to replicate a pattern provided. The participants struggled to complete this activity within the time given, but during a tea break some participants returned to the puzzle and were able to solve it fairly quickly. This highlighted the importance of being able to learn and unlearn in order to achieve a goal and how stepping back from a problem and then returning to it with fresh eyes can be of great benefit.
A favourite of the participants was Team Balance. In Team Balance participants must manoeuvre a ball across a labyrinth board that is suspended off of the ground by strings held by each player. This activity requires effective communication and teamwork skills in order for the players to be successful.
The last activity that Graham and Geoff showed us was Minefield. A collaboration and negotiation problem solving tool, Minefield allows participants to use their risk management skills to manage a budget in order to win a bonus for their team. This experiential activity helps demonstrate the level of trust in an organisation and how groups exchange information in a formal work situation. As a facilitator, watching the dynamic of the groups shift from one of a competitive nature to more of a collaborative nature was very interesting and highly educational.
This experiential learning workshop was an enjoyable and educational full day experience in trying out RSVP Design’s bestselling experiential learning tools.