Experiential Team Building Models 

Team building is the method of building cooperation, understanding, and inclusion within the organization, by utilizing experiential models, which bond teams through unforgettable experiences.

Experiential team building models are built around several models, designed to bring out the best in teams by following a specific course, with individual purposes that are meant to lead your team in a particular way.

While there are many experiential team-building models, there are several that we utilize as Colorado Wilderness Corporate and Teams to help bring out the best of your group.

These are some of the best of experiential team building models.

Denver Leadership Challenge - Leadership for the 21st Century
Denver Leadership Challenge – Leadership for the 21st Century


Kolb Model of Experiential Education 

Published by David Kolb in 1984, Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle follows a specific cycle of four stages of learning, which taps into a users internal cognitive process. The cycle follows four crucial sections and then repeats, from Concrete Experience, then Reflective Observation, to Abstract Conceptualization, and finally to Active Experimentation and back to Concrete Experience.

  • Concrete Experience

This is the stage where a new experience or situation is encountered, or an existing experience is reinterpreted in a new way. This is meant to provide the team with an exciting experience that’s going to give the team a brand new experience that they’ll bond over and experience together.

  • Reflective Observation 

Reflective observation takes the concrete experience, and looks back on the most crucial aspects, particularly any inconsistencies between experience and understanding. After the experience it’s important to take a step back and take into account what were the key moments and the most crucial lessons learned. This helps to put each lesson into concepts that can be actualized into specific ideas.

  • Abstract Conceptualization

Abstract conceptualization is the reflection that gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept the person has learned from their experience. This is the area where we take the lessons that we learned from the reflection and then put them into ideas that we can utilize as a concept. This better helps the group understand what they’ve learned from the experience.

  • Active Experimentation

Active experimentation is when the learner applies their ideas to the world around them to see what happens. With each lesson that are learned from the experience, they are applied those lessons to real life situations both in and out of the office to learn to operate more efficiently as a team. Active experimentation is where everything that was taken from the event comes into play.

Westminster Team Building Event and Activity
Westminster Team Building Event and Activity


Outward Bound Model of Experiential Education

Developed by Kurt Hahn, the Outward Bound Model where participants don’t just listen to teachers and lectures but get to learn by doing and experiencing. Thus he developed the model that would become Outward Bound, and developed a school where he laid out seven laws, which he called The Seven Laws of Salem:

  1. Give the children opportunities for self-discovery.
    “Every girl and boy has a ‘grande passion’, often hidden and unrealized to the end of life… It can and will be revealed by the child coming into close touch with a number of different activities.”
  2. Make the children meet with triumph and defeat.
    “Salem believes you ought to discover the child’s weakness as well as strength. Allow him to engage in enterprises in which he is likely to fail, and do not hush up his failure. Teach him to overcome defeat.”
  3. Give the children the opportunity of self-effacement in the common cause.
    “Event the youngsters ought to undertake tasks which are of definite importance for the community.”
  4. Provide periods of silence.
    “Unless the present-day generation acquires early habits of quiet and reflection, it will be speedily and prematurely used up by the nerve exhausting and distracting civilization of today.”
  5. Train the imagination.
    “You must call it into action, otherwise it becomes atrophied like a muscle not in use. The power to resist the pressing stimulus of the hour and the moment cannot be acquired in later life; it often depends on the ability to visualize what you plan and hope and fear for the future.”
  6. Make games important but not predominant.
    “Athletics do not suffer by being put in their place. In face you restore the dignity of the usurper by dethroning him.”
  7. Free the sons of the wealthy and powerful from the enervating sense of privilege.
    “Rich girls and boys wholly thrown into each other’s company are not given a chance of growing into men and women who can overcome. Let them share the experience of an enthralling school life with sons and daughters of those who have to struggle for their existence. No school can build up a tradition of self discipline on vigorous but joyous endeavor, unless at least 30% of the children come from homes where life is not only simple but even hard.”

Kurt Hahn was a believer in non-violent communication, with the idea that compassion is important above all, and for people to understand one another, they have to understand differences, especially when it comes to different styles of leadership.

Outward Bound Model of Experiential Education
Outward Bound Model of Experiential Education



Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, self-actualization is the desire to become the most the one can be. It’s the full realization of one’s creative, intellectual, and social potential. Maslow himself described self actualization in a way where “a musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately happy.”

Programs that are built around self-actualization help teams reach their full potential by helping them realize what they are truly capable of. A team building activity, which incorporates self-actualization, helps each person identify their individual talents and how they can bring out the best in their team.

Team building models are made to bring out the best of your team by realizing their potential in different ways. From the Kolb Model, which follows a systematic model, to the Outward Bound model, which helps each person realize their individual potential, we build our programs to give your team the very best.

Visit coloradocorporateteambuilding.comto start your adventure today.