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In-Focus: Online Experiential Learning: Helping Individuals Practise and Perform (2013)

Jun 5, 2013 | In-Focus Reports

The new Towards Maturity In-Focus Paper sheds light on how to use online experiential learning to build skills at work. 

A virtual house for builders to develop their building skills, a real world shop created online to develop customer-facing skills, a virtual learning environment for trainee social workers to develop child protection skills.

These are just some of the ways organisations are using online experiential learning technologies to create deeper learning experiences for learners that go well beyond the more traditional approaches to online learning.

This new In-Focus report introduces immersive online learning and explores how employers are using these technologies and where they fit into the learning process. The report draws on use of a mix of research data from the main 2012-13 Towards Maturity Benchmark, new insights from over 50 participants and case studies to show how employers are harnessing the technology to better support their staff.

What benefits are being reported?

The results are compelling. Across the whole sample:

  • Two-thirds report that they saw an improved engagement in learning
  • Over half report increased learner confidence, reduced cost and reduced risk and an ability to better apply learning

However, we found that as experience with these environments increased, so did the results. Those with significant experience are also more likely to report that:

  • They are embedding learning in an authentic context (86%)
  • Staff are practising real world skills with context (77%)
  • They are developing a better qualified workforce (75%)

Those organisations we spoke to who use these technologies widely report that learners are better able to apply learning, are more confident and are more engaged in learning. They also report reduced risk and cost to the business.

The report goes onto explore:

  • How organisations are using online experiential learning
  • The barriers to adoption
  • Where this fits into the overall learning process
  • How to design richer learning experiences
  • Case studies showing how this works in practice

This In-Focus report has been independently researched and written by the Towards Maturity team and is sponsored by our Ambassador Toolwire.


This report is free to download, thanks to the support of our Ambassador, Toolwire. By downloading this report, you agree for your email address to also be shared with our sponsor (Please contact us directly for a copy if you do not wish for your address to be shared).

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About the Benchmark

The Towards Maturity Benchmark Study is an internationally recognised longitudinal study on the effective implementation of learning innovation based on the input of 5,800+ participants and 41,000 learners gathered since 2003. Towards Maturity continuously surveys and studies how people learn at work and the impact this has on organisational performance. By turning data into insights and insights into action, this research is used to help L&D leaders assess and improve the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of their learning provision.

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