Arnoldas Dalinkevičius Romas Prakapas


Experiential learning is an integral part of a learning organisation’s culture, enabling it to respond in a timely manner to changing market needs and organisational opportunities. Learning from life experiences is still relevant today. Learning from experience is one of the most important and natural ways of learning available to all. It does not require special technological resources, but rather focuses on opportunities to reflect on one’s own experience (individually and with others in the organisation). Experiential learning is characterised by the fact that it enables learners to collaborate and share their knowledge and experience with others. This in turn helps to strengthen teamwork and increases the organisation’s capacity to become a learner, to problem-solve in order to be successful, and to attract innovations.

This article was written to answer the following question: what is the practice of experiential learning in Lithuania in creating a learning organisation? The object of the research presented in the article is the realisation of the need for experiential learning in a learning business organisation. The aim of the article is to present the experience of realising the need for experiential learning in a learning business organisation. The research article is based on the experience of a Lithuanian business enterprise which follows the principles of a learning organisation and seeks to apply forms of experiential learning in its practice.

Learning is about fulfilling basic human needs, seeking to grow, finding meaning in life, and developing all our talents and abilities. Experience is a fundamental element of adult educational practice. Learning how to learn in order to become skilled workers is one of the most important goals of andragogues working with adults. Different models of experiential learning are used in learning organisations: the ERE (experience – reflection – experiment) model; the learning trajectory model; the systemic learning organisation model; the 70:20:10 learning model, etc.

A case study strategy was chosen to investigate the realisation of the need for experiential learning in a learning business organisation. The learning experiences of employees of a Lithuanian business organisation were studied within the learning company. The empirical data for the study were collected using questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The questionnaire was designed according to the components of the 70:20:10 learning model. The questionnaire was administered to 427 employees of one business enterprise (head of department, team leader, and manager/specialist). The questionnaire survey was followed by semi-structured interviews with five employees of the same business.

The quantitative data from the study were analysed using descriptive statistical analysis methods. The quantitative study does not distinguish respondents by gender or age. The organisation in which the empirical study was carried out does not differentiate between sex and age in its data collection, in order not to violate employees’ rights to equal opportunities. The qualitative data from the study were analysed using a thematic analysis approach (the thematic analysis followed an inductive analytical approach). In accordance with the ethical principle of research confidentiality, all informants who participated in the study were given codes (I1, I2, I3, etc.).

The study shows that experiential learning is becoming a crucial component of building a learning organisation. The empirical study shows that there has been a shift from teaching to learning in the learning of all employees (head of the unit, team leader, and manager/specialist). The quantitative data analysis shows that all participants in the study, regardless of their job title, consider learning by practice, learning from their work colleagues, and sharing their experiences to be very important. However, professionals who work directly with clients are slightly less likely to report that they learn from their clients compared to company managers. The quantitative data also revealed another interesting detail: self-learning elements are more relevant and expressed by management groups, but not by professionals. There was also a tendency for those in managerial jobs to be more likely than others to attend formal training courses or to study the literature independently.

The study also showed that as the organisation strives for change (to become a learner), there is a need for continuous learning and the realization of experiential learning is facilitated in order to acquire the skills required by the organisation. For a business organisation to become a learning organisation, the most important attributes identified by the study participants were: the promotion of a learning culture; openness to innovation; understanding; learning leadership; and the importance of investment in technology. Personal motivation to learn is also very important in a learning organisation, as is the role of learning leaders.

The study also revealed the importance of peer learning as one of the necessary conditions to implement learning needs. A safe environment is also extremely important for such peer learning. On an everyday basis, learning by completing tasks, learning by doing, and learning by problem solving are crucial, and the dominant methods and forms of learning are learning from colleagues and supervisors, sharing experiences, and shadowing by observing a colleague.

The conclusions are presented at the end of the article.

Experiential learning is an important prerequisite for building a learning organisation. While several models for organising experiential learning are known to science and practice, business organisations tend to opt for those that can easily adapt to changes in the labour market and the organisation and that are clear and cost-effective. Experiential learning in a learning organisation becomes part of the job and a permanent learning environment for the employee.

Learning in a learning organisation, at the individual and organisational level, through daily tasks, social learning from colleagues and formal learning enables employees to successfully meet their needs in order to achieve organisational and personal goals and to balance their learning needs. Tis creates the conditions for increased efficiency and improved work processes.


Education Science