Program Highlights: Getting Ready for Experience-based Learning

December 2nd, 2019

As we come to the end of 2019 and plan for 2020, we’re going to be bringing you a series of highlights from our Premium Programs that we hope will help you be ready to crush it in 2020. The highlights will also give you a little insight into some of our programs and help you plan your learning with the Academy in 2020.

We’re starting with learning, which is our first program in 2020 (starting Jan 15th). Specifically, we are looking at how to create the conditions for experience-based learning to thrive..

In some ways, learning from experience just happens: we have experiences, discover something new, reflect on the process. But for learning to really take hold from an experience—and create lasting change—there is a certain amount of effort and openness that must occur.

Here are five elements that make for truly transformative experience-based learning:

Be Open: Simply experiencing something new doesn’t guarantee that we’ll learn anything. We need to make a conscious decision to be open to being changed by the experience. This requires a bit of vulnerability and a large dose of curiosity; a mix of these things sets us up to absorb the learning that is likely to come. If we’re blocked or cynical about the experience, we’re unlikely to learn.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Once we're open to learning, we need to take it one step further and push ourselves beyond our usual boundaries. Going to a new country and only eating at restaurants favored by expats is unlikely to teach us something new about that place. Accepting an invitation to eat at your tour guide’s mother’s house, even though no one speaks English? Might be uncomfortable, but it’s bound to be full of learning opportunities.

Be Prepared, Not Controlling: When you’ve stretched outside your usual limits, it can be tempting to try to take control of the situation. Resist the temptation. Remind yourself to stay open and ready to learn, without trying to dictate how or what you learn. It might not be easy, but that’s all part of the experience. Give yourself permission to fail. You’ll learn a whole lot that way.

Reflect: Much of your actual learning is going to come after you’ve experienced something new, once the shock or surprise or delight has passed and you’ve found your way home—if you take the time to reflect on what happened. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanisms of life, but if you take time to sift through whatever happened in the new experience, you’ll reap the rewards.

Practice What You've Learned: The final step after you’ve reflected is to actually apply what you’ve learned. Let the experience change you. What did it teach you about working with others? How did it reshape your understanding of the world? Put the answers to these questions into practice when you’re back in your day-to-day life to truly practice what you’ve learned.


To dive deeper into experience-based learning and to make sure your 2020 is filled with meaningful learning experiences, join the Josh Bersin Academy today.