What is Experiential Education?
Over the last few years, Proof Experiences has recognized a growing need to share complex topics in a meaningful yet straightforward way to the Canadian public. This led us to launch a new formal offering: Experiential Education (or, XED).
Simply put, XED is learning by doing. When done well, it’s a carefully crafted learning experience that distills complex topics into accessible information to create intuitive learning opportunities and make the overall experience relatable and enjoyable for participants. And, above all else, this type of engagement can drive behavioural change.
For example, when you take complex topics such as financial literacy or the dangers of opioids and create immersive educational experiences around those topics that are approachable, or even fun, people are much more likely to hear and remember what they learned. In fact, research has shown that experiential education is more than three times more effective than traditional auditory and visual education techniques.
So how did we know we were onto something good? While it’s always nice when clients thank us for our services, or come back to us for subsequent projects, we truly knew we were making an impact when it became clear that teachers were fully supportive of these programs when we delivered them in schools. Ninety per cent of them even said that they would recommend our XED programs to a colleague (and let’s not forget that in their case, a fellow colleague is a fellow educator – how’s that for a gold star?)
What makes Experiential Education different that Experiential Marketing?
Experiential education is a two-way dialogue that takes time. XED requires in-depth engagement with trained information ambassadors who know the content intimately and can answer questions thoroughly. A few other notable differences:
- In XED, the experience and content are purpose built with educators. We work with experts to design the experience to make sure it resonates with the target audience and offers valuable information at a level they will understand.
- XED lives beyond the experience itself. Think of the experience(s)as the launch of the learning; it’s where the dialogue starts, rather than the entire conversation. As with any educational approach, we design plans that focus on ongoing learning, including teacher resources, tip sheets for parents and interactive modules for students, among others.
- The experiences are taken directly to where the target audience can absorb them best, be it in schools, where we can support teachers and their existing curriculum, or at events where the education we’re providing is a fit within the overall experience.
Who have we worked with on Experiential Education projects?
Virtually any topic that ties to the public interest can make for a great XED program. We have worked with government organizations like Health Canada, and Employment Social Development Canada; regulated organizations like Hydro One, and Metrolinx; and brands like RBC. There’s so much more opportunity out there with industries like pharma and tech, the latter of which has cyber safety as a high priority.
We have built and hosted experiences that show young adults how to protect themselves against human trafficking, teach kids how to manage their money, instill the impact of energy conservation and educate teenagers about the dangers of Opioids. We have simplified complex topics to create age-appropriate content that is then delivered through interactions that range in length between 10 to 45 minutes depending on the audience and the environment. Further, we have relationships with 2,000+ schools nationally and know how to navigate the public education environment, allowing us to communicate with students across Canada.
How do we measure the impact of XED programs?
With critical programs like these, measuring their impact on the public is of the utmost importance, which we do using a variety of tools in myriad ways. For example:
- We measure behaviour change with pre and post surveys
- We solicit feedback from teachers to understand how the content resonated with their students and how valuable they found the experience themselves
- We measure longer-term comprehension and retention with post-evaluation surveys
- We track the reach of our programs to demonstrate the scale of our impact
With so much conflicting information out there, strains on teachers and the complex nature of determining whether or not information is verifiable, delivering fact-based education from trusted sources is more important than ever. Experiential Education is a proven approach to doing just that.
Want to know if XED is right for your brand or organization? Keep an eye out for a series on XED with stories of how we bring it to life and get in touch with us.
SVP, Growth & Innovation
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