15 ways to Create High-Impact Learning Experiences

We all know how to create high-impact learning experiences.  They are the highlight reels in our own learning histories.  To create such experiences usually means spending less time thinking about standards, outcomes, and learning objectives.  It might also mean setting aside textbooks, worksheets, lecture notes, traditional tests, quizzes, and the teacher desire to be the center of attention.  We don’t have to ignore these things, but we do need to realize that they lack the power to cultivate transformational learning. That sort of learning requires immersive and engaging experiences. So, here are fifteen simple suggestions to get us started.

Empower students to learn as they

  1. design or create something;
  2. seek out and propose solutions to a real-world problem;
  3. get into the community and address a real and significant need;
  4. play and experiment with something;
  5. question the status quo and look for alternatives that will improve the quality of life for someone;
  6. experience something that they have never seen, heard or felt;
  7. interview, research, observe and/or shadow people who are the best in the world at something;
  8. analyze the biggest mistakes in the world and proposing ways to avoid those mistakes in the future;
  9. take a risk or face a fear;
  10. rely upon a team of others to accomplish an important goal that can’t be achieved by a single person;
  11. work through a situation where instructions are unclear, goals are ambiguous, and roles are ill-defined;
  12. perform or present to others beyond the class or learning organization;
  13. take a completely boring and lifeless lesson and turning it into something powerful, compelling, and engaging;
  14. teach someone else; and
  15. create a club, community, group, organization, movement or business.