HRDQ Experiential Learning Model

Many consider experiential learning to be synonymous with learning by doing. While it does incorporate a high level of activity and interaction, models like the HRDQ Experiential Learning Model guide individuals through a series of building blocks that engage the participant, offer relevant lessons, and provide an adaptable learning environment. Built upon the highly-respected research of several adult-learning theorists—including Kolb, Honey, Mumford, and Jones—this model represents learning as a closed-loop cycle that begins with Focusing and progresses through Integrating.

The core of the HRDQ Experiential Learning Model is based upon the underlying premise that adults are motivated to learn when they perceive a need to know something or are required to take action in order to perform more effectively.

Let’s examine the phases of the HRDQ Experiential Learning Model in more detail:

The Stages of Learning

Step 1: Focusing

Learners focus on the knowledge, skills, or attitude to be learned so that they can better relate to the new concepts being presented to them.

Step 2: Experiencing

Individuals participate in a relevant hands-on activity that provides them with a concrete experience that elicits an initial reaction and honest response.

Step 3: Reflecting

Learners take time to reflect on the activity and relate it to similar past experiences in an effort to assign meaning and make connections.

Step 4: Thinking

Individuals are presented with new ideas and perspectives designed to clarify the activity they experienced, analyze their reflective observations, and reframe a new theoretical construct.

Step 5: Modifying

Learners are provided with feedback about their current use of knowledge, skills, or attitudes and are encouraged to adapt or modify their behavior with different approaches and behaviors.

Step 6: Practicing

Individuals practice and experiment with their knowledge, skills, or attitudes in a protective setting that compels them to incorporate these behaviors in the workplace or other real-world situations.

Step 7: Integrating

The starting point for the transfer of new learning, individuals are debriefed on how they can apply their skills, knowledge, and attitudes to the workplace and their personal lives.


So you be the judge. Who is better prepared to lead your organization’s teams? The manager who just sat through a half-day lecture, or the manager who just spent three hours practicing, modifying, and developing new skills in a real-world simulation?

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