• A Case Study in Deploying Experiential Learning in Fast Paced, Large Online Classroom Environment

      Bačić, Dinko
      Online education is rapidly gaining momentum in higher education. Online delivery mode is especially gaining tractions with professionals looking to further their career by obtaining Master of Business Administration degree. This student segment is actively seeking for flexible learning environment to allow them to successfully balance professional career, family commitments and school obligations. Furthermore, they expect immediate benefit and practical application of newly acquired knowledge in their professional life. On the other hand, MBA granting institutions are meeting the growing demand by introducing programs and courses allowing for large enrollments (30 -250) and intensive/shorter duration (7-8 weeks). The faculty is under pressure to deliver intensive, practical, rigorous, and scalable courses. Information Visualization & Dashboarding course was offered as a newly created course in USI's rapidly growing online MBA; data analytics track. This seven-week course could meet its five main objectives by adopting highly structured experiential learning. Experiential learning is the process of learning through reflection on doing (Kolb 1984). While the value and need for experiential learning in business programs is noted in higher education (McCarthy & McCarthy 2006), successful implementation in 100% online and intensive environment that requires acquisition of technology skill to allow for 'doing' is rare. The course was delivered to 44 students of various backgrounds though 7 modules, each consisting of module overview, 6 lessons, lesson quizzes, module exam & experiential hands-on assignment with brief reflection. All instructional materials (videos, readings and assessments) were highly customized, closely coupled and reinforcing each other. The emphasis was placed on practical value of the content and immediate applicability. Students were provided the avenue for continued feedback on course structure and effectiveness. Early feedback suggests this is one of most intensive (15-20+ hours of work per week), practical and effective courses in the MBA curriculum. Early indication is that this course structure can scale to hundreds of students with incremental investment in academic coaches and technology mentoring. Kolb, D (1984). Experiential Learning as the Science of Learning and Development. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. McCarthy, P. R., & McCarthy, H. M. (2006). When Case Studies Are Not Enough: Integrating Experiential Learning Into Business Curricula. Journal of Education for Business, 81(4), 201-204.