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Experiential Learning

Group Relations Conferences are designed as temporary learning organizations, so as to enable the continuous investigation of processes in the 'here and now', that is while events are taking shape. This is not about 'role playing' but about actual opportunities the members have to take part in situations and processes created as a result of the design of the conference and the activity in its various units, and thereby to learn about similar situations and processes happening in their lives outside. The opportunities offered in the conference include, among others, exercising and accepting leadership and authority; defining or transgressing boundaries; dealing with the various forms of resistance these evoke; taking up roles and performing tasks. The staff, in their role as management or consultancy, enables learning by means of supplying resources and keeping the setting, by engaging with the members in a mutual attempt to observe and understand the processes and by offering consultancy when needed

The fundamental assumption is that inquiry based on experience promotes significant learning which cannot be acquired any other way, and which can be applied in relation to different roles in the life of each participant – at work, in the family and in society. Such learning leads to insights which engender new ways of coping in interpersonal, group, organizational, institutional and social environments.

The learning is, of course, personal. Participants have the opportunity to discover – each in his/her own way – their place in the complex setting of the conference. In the variety of the working units offered, each member can exercise authority and leadership, and deal with opportunities, problems and resistance. Obviously, such learning depends to a large extent on the willingness, and sometimes even on the courage, of the participants to look inward, and to examine emerging insights in the context of the various activities of the groups.