Why Experiential Learning Is the Best Way to Obtain The Skill of Giving Comfort


Today there seems to be an app for everything.  The value of many apps is truly incredible and life changing. My favorite as a mom of 4 teenagers; Life360 – The New Family Circle.  In one quick glance I can see where the kids are, if they are driving and even how fast they are going. 11 pm curfew – no problem I can check at 10:50 to make sure they have left their location.  Apps are great because they make your life easier. 

However, when it comes to teaching others how to learn to comfort and compassionately connect as a skill, an app may not be the best place to start.  An old Chinese proverb states; Tell me, and I’ll forget; show me, and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand. Learning thru involvement and doing has been shown to be the most effect way of learning since people only retain 8% of an instructor's lesson after a week according to Dr. Art Graesser, Professor of Psychology – University of Memphis. 

So, when Inspiring Comfort needed a way to teach comfort, having participants create, by hand, a comfort plaque for someone else seemed to be the perfect solution.  As participants go thru the steps of learning comfort, based on the lessons of the comfort dogs, they are asked to PAWS and ponder, look, see, remember, think and ultimately create and then intentionally give, by hand, using creativity and communication. This process is effective for both children and adults. 

And, while creating something is fun, it's really more than the artwork, it's the messaging and thinking of the person you are creating the plaque for. After you have intentionally given, we ask our participants to reflect on what they have done.  This completes the circle and allows for true experiential learning of comfort as a skill – which is why initially learning this skill with a hands on approach may just be the best way.