From the Diary of a Trainer

Syed Azam Jaffar

In the last 18 years I have been to the wilderness with so many different people and in varying places that I have lost count. We were out there in mountains, valleys, jungles, rivers – in scorching sun, chilling winds, drenching rains, freezing snowfalls. The outdoors, the weather and the people are always a thrilling experience. Each imparting a new lesson, a different perspective and above all, at every single occasion I have seen people going through a massive and evident self-discovery. The process eventually led them to inner change. Each time it adds to my learning as I witness their transformation, and this is my reward.

The topic of Experiential Learning fills numerous textbooks, theories and case studies; they are treasure of academic knowledge. That is where I studied its definitions, processes and models, but I discovered the real impact of experiential learning in the challenging surroundings of nature. Where the terrain, the weather, along with our own mental and physical strengths and weaknesses challenges us. Our own revelations, discoveries, achievements and failures initiate a change process. This is what I call Experiential Learning in its explicit reality.

I have been asked many times what I do in corporate training. My answer is always the same; we design, plan and execute a program and then let the participants and nature challenge our plan in real time. This is were we innovate, modify and change our strategy, and that’s where we have to a step ahead proactively. In a way, we truly practice what we preach: improvise!

No one can change attitude and behaviors; it has to be instigated with conviction by your own self. I am nonetheless proud to be a part of the team which walks you through that changing experiences in a unique classroom of the vast wilderness.

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