Experiential Classroom

Teaching Resources

What is the experiential exam?

The Experiential Exam as an innovative alternative formal assessments of learning outcomes that encourages memorization of course content. Students move through all four stages of the Kolb experiential learning cycle that starts with an experience which is transformed into meaning through reflection, sense-making and sense-giving. Three different examples of experiential examinations include The DIY Exam, The 11th Secret and The Exam without Words, all of which prompts the student to demonstrate entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors. The merits of using experiential examinations for entrepreneurship education are compared and contrasted with those of traditional and more unconventional examination formats.

Appendix A: The Exam without Words
Experiential Exam Sample 3, Slide 1
Slide 1
Experiential Exam Sample 3, Slide 2 (The Exam without Words)
Slide 2: The Exam without Words
Appendix B: The 11th Secret
  • Excerpt of The 11th Secret
Appendix C: The DIY Exam
  • Music files of The DIY Exam
Appendix D: Samples of Student Comments
Appendix E: Samples of Faculty Responses

The most important outcome of education is to help students become independent of formal education.

Paul Gray

An Innovative Pedagogy for Teaching Entrepreneurship


To demonstrate how experiential activities involving artistic expression (art, painting, drama, music, etc.) enhance the understanding of entrepreneurship in an effective, efficient and enjoyable way.


Several of the games typically played in a classroom concentrate on finding the right answers e.g. Jeopardy, Who wants to be a Millionaire, Cluedo, Bingo, etc. Others create a competitive scenario in which students or groups of students are in a combative situation e.g. simulations. All of these involve a winner and losers. An alternative approach to play in the classroom is one in which students collaborate with instead of compete against each other. A set of activities was developed in which students “create something out of nothing”. He/she has to find out the rules, make the connections and interpretations while creating something materials that are unfamiliar to them. In each instance, the student plays an active and creative role. Each activity engage students in different ways, but all capture their imagination and encourage interaction.


Activities that involve artistic expression (e.g. art, music, drama) have proven to be particularly effective in terms of encouraging a greater degree of both participation and comprehension.


Apart from creating opportunities for students to comprehend fundamental principles, these exercises convey the underlying emotion-filled concepts that cannot be communicated effectively in narrative format. These assignments seem childlike at first and herein lay the secret to their success. Students immediately associate these activities with the things they used to do in kindergarten i.e. remind them of playing and having fun and not caring about the outcomes. When the seemingly unrelated digressions reveal their relevance to the learner there is an aha! moment that needs no further explanation from the instructor.

Quest for the Holy Grail
Quilt Squares
Experiential Play to Learn and Learn to Play Quilt Squares

A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree
without in some sort becoming a tree;
or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely…
but by watching for a time his motions and plays,
the painter enters into his nature
and can then draw him at every attitude…

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)
American writer, philosopher, poet, essayist
Jam Session
Experiential Play to Learn and Learn to Play Jam Session

Creative work needs the ethos of jazz…
A leader will pick the tune, set the tempo, and start the music, define a style. After that it is up to the ensemble to be disciplined and free, wild and restrained, leaders and followers, focused and wide-ranging…
To integrate the ‘voices’ in the band without diminishing their uniqueness. The individuals are expected to play solo and together.

Max DePree (in Leadership Jazz)
Idea Champions
Experiential Play to Learn and Learn to Play le Tour de Agency

An epic long-distance competition between prospective innovation professionals for the yellow jersey: the greatest challenge of all!

DIY Exam
Experiential Play to Learn and Learn to Play DIY Exam
  • Calendar
  • Radical marketing songs
  • Comic strip book
  • Richard Branson’s Tank
  • Poem about concept
  • Diary of thoughts
  • DVD – experience

Inventor’s Challenge

Inventing is the great theatrical art of ‘what if?’

Richard Saunders
Experiential Play to Learn and Learn to Play Inventor's Challenge
Marketing Imagination

Push the outrageous envelope all the way to the top…and then push a little more.

Harvey Mackay
Photo Exposé

A picture is worth a thousand words…
A purposeful personal collection of artifacts that represents both the learning experience and reflections on that experience in a way that conveys something about you.

Case Study Play List

You cannot chase new knowledge expecting to find or capture it…it has to find you. If you are exploring and are diligent and open, you will not discover it…it will discover you.

Rites of Passage

There are leaders the people fear
There are leaders the people hate
There are leaders the people love
But when the best leaders of all
Have finished their work
The people say, ‘We did it ourselves.’

Lau Tzu
Chinese Philosopher