How much time should I allow for a review after using an experiential activity?
RSVP Design Response
Our rule of thumb when working with RSVP Design activities is to schedule a minimum of the same amount of time for the review as for the activity itself. So from a learning facilitation point of view run your activity until a satisfactory outcome has been achieved. Consider whether any intervention is required to coach participants to try and reach the satisfactory outcome within your planned activity time (a maximum of 50% of your total available time).
If you are concerned about the review and the quality of discussion that will develop, consider using some additional tools alongside the activity itself. An example may be using Images of Organisations in a team development programme - pause the activity at some point in the early storming phase to ask participants to choose an image that reflects how they feel about the team at that point; return to completing the activity; then use Images of Organisations again at the end to ask people how they felt about the team at the end. Other Image-based products which can be used in this way include expresspack, Dialoogle and the new Visual Explorer product series from the Center for Creative Leadership.
Another option is to introduce the Feedback Game strength cards or the free Feedback Cards descriptions on p.30 of the Free Experiential Learning Manual, prior to beginning the activity. Ask participants to use the cards during the activity - passing them to team members when they see a particular behaviour being exhibited. The review can then include a discussion of why particular cards were issues and their effect.
A final RSVP Design tool to consider using is the Voyage Mapping toolbox to review the activity - use the journey of the activity created by the team to help structure the review, reflection and individual application of learning.
More reviewing techniques & methods can be found on p.21 of the Free Experiential Learning Manual.
When designing a learning experience that includes an experiential learning activity- allow up to 50% of your available time for the activity, and at least 50% of the time for the activity review, reflection and consideration of application of the individual learning.
If you are concerned about ensuring that a good quality of discussion will follow the practical activity session then ensure you choose activities that will allow you to observe and note important behaviour; and consider using visual and other metaphorical tools to help participants explore and learn from the task itself, as well the outcomes and the process used.