Merriam Webster defines experience as “direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge.” At CustomED we take that definition one step further and say that an experience, particularly a learning experience, is diving deep into a subject matter, not just in an intellectual way, but in a sensory one.
The learning events, activities and strategies we create make a difference because we build them with all the senses in mind. Learning is not just about thinking, but about feeling, touching and visually immersing yourself into the concept at hand, creating a result that opens minds to possibilities and makes a massive impact. That’s our goal every time.
For the learners we have the privilege of working with, this strategy has proven to be successful, because unique experiences are what resonate with them, ironically due in part of the digital world in which they are natives. For instance, in a study commissioned by WP Engine, they found that that 47 percent of Gen Z believe websites will become more human in experience by exhibiting emotions when they visit and interact with them. A majority of Generation Z is even willing to trade privacy for personal experiences, and they are helping to create the “who-would-have-thought-it” resurgence of the brick and mortar retail world if the brand offers a – you guessed it – a personalized and unique shopping experience.
And while shopping isn’t learning, those numbers follow a trend in how this generation wants to embrace everything in their world – with meaningful experiences. In a study by Barnes and Noble College over half of the respondents say they learn best when they are engaged in hands-on experiences and over 60% say teachers could improve learning using classroom discussion as a tool. And they are not just interested in working with other students in their class, they also find collaboration with learners outside of their school valuable and exciting.
Our youngest learners are driving the change in how we learn. We can follow their lead and use the tools we have as educators, companies, organizations and mentors to provide rich experiences that engage and motivate them to absorb all the beauty of learning and create positive change.