Experiential learning programs and courses are a fixture of most business schools across the world. There has been an increase in the popularity of such programs because they allow students to learn by doing. Experiential learning opportunities not only enforce learning of key business topics, they also give students an opportunity to develop something even more important – soft skills.
The offering of experiential learning opportunities can include tools such as strategic business management simulations and project-based learning initiatives. While the benefits of experiential learning are well documented, assessing students’ learning and mastery of the material can become a challenge. This challenge is often highlighted by the AACSB’s assurance of learning (AoL) mandate.
So how can business schools continue to provide their students with experiential learning opportunities without disregarding their need for accreditation? Let’s explore some recommendations made by the Leaders of Experiential Project-Based Education (LEPE).
Assurance of Learning Solutions
- Tailor Learning Outcomes to the Individual
Schools should identify a clear set of learning objectives that apply to every program participant. In addition, students should then be required to set at least two personal development goals that must be shared with program coordinators and the rest of their team.
- Provide Feedback Early and Often to Teams and Individuals
Providing timely and specific feedback allows a team and its members to self-assess their performance, build on what they’re doing right, and correct what they’re doing wrong. In order to compare their current progress to team and personal goals, it’s important for students to receive this feedback throughout the semester.
- Create Opportunities for Reflection
Reflection and self-awareness, or the understanding of who we are and how we are similar to or different from others, can greatly impact personal development. Students should be provided with tools like multi-source 360-degree assessments or web-based peer reviews so they can evaluate the consistency of their self-view when compared to external sources. Identifying discrepancies in this evaluation can help students define developmental goals.
- Evaluate Student Learning in Three Domains: Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral
LEPE recommends that student performance should be measured across three domains. The first domain is the cognitive domain, which deals with learning and adaptation over time. The second domain is the affective domain, which takes into account student satisfaction and commitment. The third domain is the behavioral domain, which refers to the quality and quantity of performance on tasks.
- Acknowledge and Incorporate the Role of Emotions
Student experiences can greatly depend on emotions. For example, a difference in views of opinion between team members can escalate to frustration and anger. Emotions should be incorporated into feedback so that students can understand and verbalize them. Incorporating emotions into feedback and improve team dynamics by teaching individuals how to disarm conflict.
- Close the Loop
According to a recent survey by LEPE, “Eighty-four percent of programs surveyed report that they regularly collect assessment data on how to improve teaching and learning, but only 56% report using assessment data to make changes to their programs.” It’s crucial for educators to learn from their experiences and translate that learning into course improvements.
Capsim and Accreditation
The Capsim suite of simulations and assessments takes into account recommendations like the ones discussed above to meet the needs of all stakeholders.
- Capsim’s tools meet the developmental needs of students by providing them with an experiential learning platform in which they can learn, make decisions, and take ownership of their self-development.
- The tools also meet the needs of professors by providing them with solutions to their school’s assurance of learning goals, allowing them to improve their courses, and providing them with one-on-one help from a Client Relationship Consultant 24/7.
- Finally, Capsim’s suite of simulations and assessments meet the needs of business school administrators by providing them with the data needed for accreditation documentation without sacrificing student development.
Click here to learn more about how Capsim can help you meet AACSB’s assurance of learning accreditation requirements without sacrificing student development.