Experiential Learning: Beginning
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Experiential Learning: Beginning

About the Book

Reader Daniel Read wrote:

"I had the pleasure of reading an early draft of this three volume book set by Jerry Weinberg called "Experiential Learning". I also have had the pleasure of attending some of Mr. Weinberg's experiential workshops. This stuff is gold. You won't find it anywhere else. I dare say it is the culmination of a life's work by someone who practically invented this approach. (A few other Weinberg books could fit that description, actually--he has several "life's works"!)" <end quote>

The second volume—Class—guides the reader in constructing and delivering classes consisting entirely (or almost entirely) of one or more experiential exercises.

Volume Three—Simulations—takes up the possibilities for longer classes and longer exercises.

Volume Four—Examples—provides a host of actual examples of simulations we've used over more than half a century.

At the beginning of our classes, we generally gather the students' hopes for what will happen as a result of the class. (You can read more about this practice in the section called Requirements Gathering.) We haven't figured out how to gather requirements from each reader of a book, but we do offer a class about experiential learning, and from these classes, we've developed some ideas of what most of our students want.

So, what can you hope to gain from reading these volumes? If your hopes for these books is similar, we've made a list of hopes distilled from these classes:

1) Learn practical knowledge about designing experiential exercises.

2) Expand my understanding of what participants experience during experiential exercises.

3) Unlearn things that interfere with effective experiential learning.

4) Help to expand my "big picture" about this topic.

5) Link to other knowledge to help increase my effectiveness.

6) Figure out if students are really learning.

We've used this list to guide us in deciding what to include, and as with any experiential exercise, this book may lead its readers to many additional lessons we never planned for them.

And, of course, a book may be an experience for a reader, but it's not what we're thinking of as an experiential exercise (though a reader may benefit greatly from trying at least some of the exercises described here) In the final analysis, a book about the effectiveness of experiential exercises may seem to be a paradox, but there's a learning there, too.

We are not claiming that experiential learning is the only way to learn. We're not even claiming that experiential exercises always teach anything worthwhile, or that students never take away erroneous or vacuous learnings. We're merely saying that we have found this approach to be one more tool for our teaching repertoire—a tool that has been strikingly effective for us as both teachers and learners. We hope it turns out that way for you, as well.

About the Author

Gerald M. Weinberg
Gerald M. Weinberg

I've always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, I've published books on human behavior, including Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software and Other Fallacies, and an Introduction to General Systems Thinking. I've also written books on leadership including Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting (Foreword by Virginia Satir), More Secrets of Consulting, and the nine-volume Quality Software series.

I try to incorporate my knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all of my writing and consulting work (with writers, hi-tech researchers, software engineers, and people whose life-situation could require the use of a service dog). I write novels about such people, including The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, First Stringers, Second Stringers, The Hands of God, Freshman Murders, Earth's Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules—all about how my brilliant protagonists produce quality work and learn to be happy. My books may be found as eBooks at <http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JerryWeinberg>; on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000AP8TZ8; and at Barnes and Noble bookstore: http://tinyurl.com/4eudqk5.

Early in my career, I was the architect for the Project Mercury's space tracking network and designer of the world's first multiprogrammed operating system. I won the Warnier Prize, the Stevens Award, and the first Software Testing Professionals' Luminary Award, all for my writing on software quality. I was also elected a charter member of the Computing Hall of Fame in San Diego and chosen for the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame.

But the "award" I'm most proud of is the book, The Gift of Time (Fiona Charles, ed.) written by my student and readers for my 75th birthday. Their stories make me feel that I've been at least partially successful at helping smart people be happy.

Gerald M. Weinberg

Episode 82

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Table of Contents

  • Preface
    • Who Should Read this Series?
    • Where Can The Series Be Helpful?
    • What Can Be Learned from the Series?
    • How Can a Reader Help Improve Future Editions?
  • 1. Starting Points
    • 1.1 A Zero-Level Example
    • 1.2 Using Feedback to Improve Designs
    • 1.3 Designing an Experiential Class
    • 1.4 Using an Off-the-Shelf Starting Point
  • 2. Constructing Experiential Learning Programs
    • 2.1 A Typical Learning Experience
    • 2.2 Piaget’s Model of the Learning Process
    • 2.3 A Typical Non-Learning Experience
  • 3. Building in Learning Cycles
    • 3.1 The Exploration Phase
    • 3.2 Invention
    • 3.3 Application
    • 3.4 Experience with the Learning Cycle
    • 3.5 Learning versus Teaching
  • 4. Evolution an Exercise
    • 4.1 The NASA Moon-Survival Exercise
    • 4.2 What’s Wrong With This Exercise?
    • 4.3 The Geography Exercise
  • 5. Improving the Exercise’s Metaphor
    • 5.1 Ranking World Records
    • 5.2 Instructor Notes for Ranking Exercise
    • 5.3 Topics for Discussion
    • 5.4 Scoring Example
    • 5.5 There’s No One Right Way
  • 6. Using Process Observation
    • 6.1 What We Mean by “Process”
    • 6.2 Specific Things You Can Observe
    • 6.3 The MOI-Model Organization
    • 6.4 How To Report Observations
    • 6.5 Using Feelings to Infer What’s Important
    • 6.6 Building Your Feelings Vocabulary
  • 7. Moving to the Next Level
    • 7.1 Improving the Scoring
    • 7.2 Measuring Influence
    • 7.3 Feedback
  • 8. Generating Creative Ideas
    • 8.1 Using the Brainstorming Rules
    • 8.2 Following the Brainstorm
    • 8.3 Brainstorming Class Features
  • 9. Learning to Design a Problem
    • 9.1 Participant Notes for the Problem Design Exercise
    • 9.2 Instructor Notes for Problem Design
    • 9.3 Inventing in a Fishbowl
    • 9.4 Typical Fishbowl Results
    • 9.5 What One Division Said about Assigning Work to Others
    • 9.6 What Another Division Said about Assigning Work to Others
    • 9.7 What Others Learned about Teamwork
  • 10. Learning to Lead Exercises
    • 10.1 Be a Model of Congruence
    • 10.2 You’ll Never Be Sure What They’re Going to Learn
    • 10.3 Learning Leader Skills
  • 11. Keep Exercises Simple and Transparent
    • 11.1 Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
    • 11.2 A Note on Volunteering
    • 11.3 Choosing Volunteers
  • 12. The Opening Exercise
    • 12.1 Course Principles
    • 12.2 Forming Teams
    • 12.3 Some Notes On Simulation As A Learning Device
    • 12.4 Requirements Gathering
  • 13. Starting With Unacquainted Participants
    • 13.1 Lemons
  • 14. Virginia Satir’s Three Questions
    • 14.1 How do they happen to be here? (Past)
    • 14.2 How do they feel about being here? (Present)
    • 14.3 What would they like to have happen? (Future)
    • 14.4 Can This Be Done In Real Time?
  • 15. Acquainted Participants
    • 15.1 More Opening Exercises
    • 15.2 Building a Support System (variation #1)
    • 15.3 Building a Support System (variation #2)
    • 15.4 Building a Support System (variation #3)
    • 15.5 Application
    • 15.6 Support Contracts
  • 16. Clarifying Relationships
    • 16.1 With Whom Am I Having the Pleasure?
    • 16.2 What Influences Our Interaction with Another Person
  • 17. Exercises to Deepen Relationships
    • 17.1 Group Sizes
    • 17.2 Career Lines and Life Lines
  • 18. Bibliography
    • 18.1 Further Reading

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