Prospects Practice Paper- Experiential Learning: Fostering Lasting Behavioral Change

Brittney M. Norton
Mercy Corps
Publication Date: 
Jun, 2016

The term ‘experiential learning’ is often mistakenly used to describe any learning experience that involves participatory activities. This paper presents an overview of what true experiential learning is and how this form of learning allows for real-world application - thus promoting lasting behavioural change. Furthermore, it explains how experiential learning was adopted as the methodological core of the Prospects psychosocial programme in Liberia, which builds ‘pre-employment skills’ in 3,500 vulnerable youth aged 15-24 years. The goal of the paper is to provide other youth and education development practitioners with a resource that can be used to strengthen youth and behaviour change programmes through the incorporation of the experiential learning theory. In addition, this paper explains its application in the Prospects programme, before concluding with key considerations of such a design.

Prospects is a youth empowerment program implemented by Mercy Corps and funded by the Swedish Embassy in Liberia and Chevron which seeks to equip young Liberians with the skills, information, and opportunities to find meaningful and sustainable employment or self-employment. Prospects combines direct service delivery with efforts to stimulate positive systemic changes in terms of youths' role in the labour and job hiring markets. The program works across the full spectrum of youth demographics, engaging over 11,000 youth through a range of services, including psychosocial support, on-the-job training, entrepreneurial support,
skills training and job matching services.
Read the full report here.


Monitoring & Evaluation
Soft Skills
Sub-Saharan Africa