🪄The Quest #113: What are “experiences” and how can you create them in your live sessions?

Hello friends,

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest, your weekly round-up of tips and insights to help you design and lead exceptional online sessions that your group members will love.❤️

What are “experiences” and how can you create them for your virtual groups? That’s our Quest for this week🔎

Let’s dive right in!

The word “experience” gets thrown around a lot.

We want to give our virtual groups memorable experiences. Learning experiences. Engaging experiences. Immersive experiences. Even breakthrough experiences. 😀

But what do we really mean by “experience”?

Are all experiences the same? Can you create experiences that accelerate learning and collaboration? It turns out you can design experiences that accelerate learning. It’s called experiential learning.

Discovering experiential learning was a game-changer.

Thanks to my facilitation mentors, I learned that you can bring a learning-by-doing-and-reflecting approach into live group sessions. And when you do you make it more memorable and impactful for your groups.

What are experiences? And how can you create them for your virtual groups? That’s our Quest for this week🔎

👉David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

👉3 pro tips for creating experiences from Romy Alexandra

👉3 magic questions that will radically improve reflection in your groups


👉An “experiential-style” closing prompt

💡David Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle

If you haven’t come across David Kolb’s research on experiential learning you are in for a BIG treat!

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle is one of the most influential approaches to learning. It has transformed the way I design and lead my sessions. And it is the energy that powers the Breakthrough Arc Framework.

The Experiential Learning Cycle is a 4-step learning process👇

Source: Experiential Learning Institute

Experiential learning defines experience as an engaged learning process where students learn by doing and by reflecting on the experience. It’s the opposite of the traditional information transmission model.

Here are 7 insights from Kolb’s work I’ve found helpful when designing live group experiences👇

💡Learning is an endlessly recurring cycle, not a linear process.

💡The brain is built for experiential learning.

💡Emotion influences thinking more than thinking influences emotion.

💡It’s better to start with concrete examples rather than abstract principles.

💡Real experiences that flood all senses are best for learning – especially those with elements of change and surprise.

💡Be careful not to overload the limited capacity of working memory.

💡Creating a safe environment for failure helps provoke an “active reaction” from learners.

A good place to learn more about experiential learning is on the Experiential Learning Institute website.

And if you really want to geek out read Kolb’s article called Eight important things to know about The Experiential Learning Cycle (thanks to Quest reader Romy Alexandra for sharing that link – more on Romy below👇).

💪3 pro tips for creating experiences from Romy Alexandra

When it comes to experiential learning, experience designer and experiential trainer Romy Alexandra is my go-to. She is the only person I know who learned directly from David Kolb. 🤯

Romy defines an experience as “anything new that strikes the learner and taps into their senses and emotions.”

This could be an insightful conversation, a travel experience, or a large immersive VR concert.

In group facilitation, it could be a breakout room activity, a visualization, or a free-write.

She has three top tips for sustaining long-term impact when it comes to experiences.

1/ ✨Tap into emotions.

We learn and remember based on emotions and experiences. The more you can explore emotions in experiences, the greater the long-term impact of those experiences will be.

2/ 💪Leverage the experience in the room.

Every person in your group has a “full cup” of life experiences. Drawing out the wisdom in the room is a powerful way to make meaning from an experience. That’s why facilitators do so little talking:)

3/ 🤔Draw meaning from the experience.

Educator John Dewey famously said, “We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” Reflection is where we make meaning from experiences and leads to clarity on how to take action.

How could you create more experiences in your live sessions?

Follow Romy on LinkedIn where she shares brilliant weekly posts on experiential learning and facilitation like this one on experiences. And check out a round-up of her top facilitation resources here.

🪄3 magic questions that will radically improve reflection in your groups

Leading a really good group reflection is one of the most challenging skills to learn. And yet it’s mission-critical for getting the most out of an experiential approach to your live sessions.

It took me a long time to feel comfortable finding the right questions to ask that would surface new insights and aha’s.

There are 3 magic questions that have radically improved reflection in my live sessions.

They are What? So What? Now What?

Check out my latest LinkedIn post to find out how you can use them to transform meandering discussions into insightful group reflection.

✍️Closing Prompt of the Week

Here’s an “experiential-style” closing prompt I learned from Romy. After an experiential session, ask your group members to share verbally or in the chat:

I feel…

I learned…

I will…

💌Thanks for reading The Quest

I always love hearing your feedback and suggestions. Just hit reply to share your thoughts and ideas.

If you were forwarded this email, you can subscribe to The Quest 👉here.

If you enjoy The Quest, I’d appreciate it if you shared it with anyone you think might like it.

Creatively yours,

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top