With a simulation, you create a safe environment in which people can experiment with learning a new skill or seeing how they operate. There are two critical pieces to the simulation:
- Creating a safe environment in which people can work. No one can learn if they feel unsafe.
- Debriefing the simulation. If you don't debrief, you can't tell what you learned.
There are more pieces, but the setup for safety and the debrief are critical.
What I love about simulation-based training is that people are never wrong. Whatever happens in the simulation reflects their reality. Because people recreate their behaviors in the simulation, they (and the instructor!) get immediate feedback on what happens in their work lives.
If you want to consider experiential learning, that's what I do at conferences, when I lead tutorials. The AYE conference is all experiential learning. (The current discounted registration of $1500 expires July 1.) My workshops are all experiential learning.
If you are trying to learn something without practicing, stop it. Fire the instructor. Do that kind of work in practice, preferably in a simulation, so you can learn from it.