Unlocking the Potential of Experiential Learning: It’s Showtime!

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Brenda Robinson
Brenda Robinson
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March 23, 2023

1:16 am


Here’s the scenario; you are in charge of energizing a team of people on a possibly boring subject for a few hours or more. You want to ensure smiles and cheers, and at the end, a couple of pats on the back, “great job,” wouldn’t hurt. You’re certain you don’t want another dry PowerPoint presentation, a presenter who can’t stimulate the crowd, or a revolving door of bathroom breaks during the session.  Here’s a how-to guide that will walk you through hosting an engaging, memorable experience using experiential tactics to ensure your participants reach their full learning potential. 

Think of innovating the learning experience using these four important moments to capture the magic of learning: The Invitation, Entrance, Crescendo, and Close. 

The Invitation

Inviting guests to a learning experience in a delightful way is the first step to creating an impactful and meaningful educational event. Experiential learning is a great way to engage learners with new ideas and concepts they can apply to their everyday lives. Ensuring that the attendees are excited about the prospect of learning is vital to achieving this. Carefully craft an invitation by considering the type of event, the target audience, and the learning objectives. 

Remember, the delivery of your invitation matters. Your attendees can tell when an invite is high-end, low-end, or in-between. They also can tell when the invitation is personalized to them or the event’s theme. A personalized video invitation recorded by a celebrity like Super Bowl performer Rihanna might not be feasible for your business. However, a fancy interactive email invitation or a hand-delivered customized present could make all the difference. Be open to experimentation and try something new!

The Entrance

Lights, camera, action! Now that you’ve considered the invitation, it’s time to think more about the opening of your event. The Entrance is what the experience is like when the event begins, including everything from location to décor to music. All of the different elements of your event should come together to make a memorable environment that will create a lasting impression on attendees. 

Consider whether your event will be hosted virtually, hybrid, or in person. With virtual events, we can now have more frequent, high-value interactions and more attendees can attend. Sometimes, a better alternative is hosting a hybrid event combining in-person and virtual components. They provide the benefits of in-person meetings while allowing those who cannot attend in person to participate. Overall, virtual and hybrid can be great ways to reach a wider audience, save on costs, and improve accessibility.

On the flip side, remember that entirely in-person events are still an option in 2023! And remember, they can be a breath of fresh air for remote workers who spend every working day on Zoom. The truth is, in-person events are not a thing of the past—they’re still alive and well. They look a bit different than they used to. In-person experiences are perfect for gauging learning because you can watch them read, see them tour, and look for [positive and negative reactions. Good learning is seen in facial expressions and heard in spirited conversations!

Another aspect of what makes events unique – primarily in-person experiences – is how a venue can transform the experience. What will the experience of your event be like when it’s showtime? Envision the sounds you hear (music), the color and tempo of the lights, and the decor that fills the room. Create something that stimulates the mind and creates a sense of wonder. Balloons, personalized notes, seamless check-in, tchotchkes, and video are always a hit. Think and invest wisely, you only get 1x to make a good first impression!

The Crescendo

Now, you might be wondering… How do I make my event unforgettable? Welcome to The Crescendo, where the fun action of the event happens! In this phase, think more about engagement, surprise, and activity. Engaging your attendees is the key to success, which you can do through new and fun activities. 

This phase of hosting a great event requires you to think about how to make active learning stick. Sticky learning refers to how the brain learns and retains information. To create content learners remember after a training or course is over means activating the brain for long-term retention and designing learning based on cognitive and neuroscience. Active learning is any learning activity where the participant interacts with the learning process instead of passively taking in information. Surprise your audience by providing them with a new experience for learning, not just the same old presentation, dull speaker, or didactic training modules you always share.

One way to create a memorable learning experience is to implement gamification. Gamification is the process of using game elements in a non-game context. It has many advantages over traditional learning approaches, including increasing motivation levels, improving knowledge retention, and increasing learner engagement through social mechanisms like badges, points, or leaderboards. Using gamification in your event activities can create an engaging and memorable learning experience for your participants. And no, we don’t mean just adding a poll to the experience. Likely, Anderson Paak won’t light up the stage with a song to create magic in the middle of the event so we’ll have to go with simpler tasks like buzzer-beater games, a card under the seat wins a prize, a local comedian who focuses on your industry, or even a scavenger hunt. Event activities can be solo or in groups, but be sure to keep it moving

The Close

The event is ending! Your happy learners are getting ready to leave the venue or type away in their team Slack channelsl. This is your shining opportunity to create an event exit that leaves your audience happy. Your goal is to leave them bragging about the awesome event they’ve just attended. It’s time to create an exit that will get them talking. 

People love something extra to take home from events. From a leave-behind document that summarizes the experience or offers new resources to a sweet candy treat, there is always something to offer your audience as a gift. QR codes are easy to use so you can focus on ESG and save trees when creating documents. And, let’s face it, when was the last time you turned down free chocolate? Personalize the event exit the way you did the invitation to create something memorable, surprising and delightful. The most important thing is to make it engaging and memorable!

Following these tips ensures that your corporate meeting or keynote event is engaging, memorable, and comprehensive. You’ll be well on your way to creating an unforgettable experience. With experiential learning methods, you can ensure your conference attendees don’t suffer from conference coma but instead leave feeling energized and inspired. 

About Red Flag Mania

At Red Flag Mania, we believe in experiential learning to develop critical thinking and decision-making skills. Our program utilizes financial crime as a basis for each story, placing learners at the center of the drama with abundant evidence to solve the case. Learners use investigative skills, accounting theories, and curiosity to detect and identify potential red flags. Combining film, business theory, technology, and game mechanics, Red Flag Mania helps learners hone transferable skills for success.

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