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Journal of Teaching in International
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Globalizing International Business
Education via Experiential Learning
Raj Aggarwal & John W. Goodell
Published online: 29 Apr 2014.
To cite this article: Raj Aggarwal & John W. Goodell (2014) Globalizing International Business
Education via Experiential Learning, Journal of Teaching in International Business, 25:2, 79-82, DOI: 10.1080/08975930.2014.897892
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08975930.2014.897892
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Journal of Teaching in International Business, 25: 79–82, 2014
Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN: 0897-5930 print / 1528-6991 online
Globalizing International Business Education via
Experiential Learning 1. EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
There is much variation across various teaching methods. Roughly speaking, each of the five teaching methods—lectures, discussions, in-depth project reports, teaching based on case studies, and experiential learning—are clearly different in their efficiency and efficacy or as some may put it, in the breadth and depth of the material learned by students.
In terms of the breadth of the material conveyed, as most professors know, lectures have the least amount of staying power when it comes to student retention of the material conveyed. But lectures are good for the efficient conveying of large amounts of basic material on a topic— material that in most cases can be read by the motivated students just as effectively without the lecture. Student class discussions are next most effective in conveying and internalizing the material—student participation in their learning makes it more effective. Case studies and specialized projects where the students are responsible for their own learning are even more effective in conveying and retaining the material. However, in each of these methods there is an important trade-off; as the amount of material conveyed per unit of time declines progressively as the depth and retention rate of the material increases. Experiential learning and learning by doing are most effective in internalizing material to be learned, but they demand much greater time and expense.
Learning can also be characterized by its depth. The simplest form is data acquisition.
In general, data that can be applied to a specific task becomes information. Similarly, specific information that can be generalized becomes knowledge. Finally, carrying this analogy further, accumulated knowledge with an understanding of its limitations becomes wisdom. Each of the five teaching methods—lectures, discussions, in-depth project reports, teaching based on case studies, and experiential learning—also have a second trade-off. They become progressively better at teaching and internalizing the depth of learning from data to information to knowledge to wisdom.
Experiential learning is emphasized in many contexts from religion to childhood development. There is not much debate about its effectiveness. Experiential learning can be particularly effective in reorienting attitudes and understanding of people from different cultures (Javidian &
Walker, 2013). These skills are particularly useful for IB students. However, it’s use in
D ow nl oa de d by [N or the as ter n U niv ers ity ] a t 0 0:0 1 1 3 N ov em be r 2 01 4 80 AGGARWAL AND GOODELL
IB education is limited by the time and expense involved in implementing it in a college setting.
These informal observations are confirmed by scholarly studies.
The now famous experiential learning model of Kolb and Fry (1975) contains a four-stage cycle of learning, in which immediate or concrete experiences provide a basis for observations and reflections in four stages: (a) concrete experience, (b) reflective observation; (c) abstract conceptualization; and (d) abstract experimentation. While expressed as stages, Kolb and Fry suggest that the learning cycle can begin at any one of the four points and that it is really a continuous spiral. Kolb says that ideally this process represents a learning cycle or spiral where the learner touches all the bases in a cycle of experiencing, reflecting, thinking, and acting. Immediate or concrete experiences lead to observations and reflections. These reflections are then assimilated (absorbed and translated) into abstract concepts with implications for action, which the person can actively test and experiment with, which in turn enable the creation of new experiences.