UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School

Experiential Learning Solutions

At UNC Executive Development, we use action learning exercises to compliment and expand upon traditional instruction and case analysis. Action learning is a key component of our experiential learning method and produces measureable results when used to create implementable business plans like the exercises described below. By creating an environment where individuals can interject ideas in an open forum, receive immediate feedback from fellow participants and advisors, learning is accelerated. The result transforms adult learners to embrace new knowledge and effectively implement ideas into the workplace.

Business Challenge Exercise

Our Business Challenge Exercise links the business knowledge and skills learned during the program with participants' business challenges. Working in cross-functional teams with peer feedback and faculty coaching, participants identify challenging business situations, recommend solutions and develop action plans.

The exercise is designed to be experiential in nature with immediate takeaways to resolve important company business problems. Teams make presentations to the whole group and the organization awards one team for their plan.

Upon returning to the workplace, participants implement their plans, hold office hours with an advisor and report on key milestones, discuss implementation barriers, and develop metrics for success. This exercise provides an avenue to gather ROI information on the program regarding cost savings, new revenue generating opportunities, and the resolution of customer issues.

CEO Challenge Exercise

Our CEO Challenge is an action learning exercise where participants are placed in cross-functional teams and asked to work on a company issue. The organization's CEO (or other senior executive) personally participates in the program. Using the skills developed during the Business Challenge Exercise as well as the classroom learning, teams are tasked with conducting scenario analysis on a company challenge.

Two teams may be given the same challenge to generate healthy competition and to demonstrate different solutions. Teams will make presentations to the group and to the CEO at the end of the module. Teams are then enabled to implement their plans with senior management approval.

Action Learning = Results

Action learning exercises create tangible returns for organizations investing in executive education. Additionally, organizations continue to experience returns on their program investments long after the program. Participant employees continue to use skills learned during the program to solve business challenges back on the job. Action learning exercises produce:

  • Satisfying, hands-on learning experiences
  • Strategic plans ready for application
  • Lasting behavioral change
  • Measurable returns on executive development