• A virtual approach to experiential learning: Using free web-based resources within the classroom to enhance students’ learning

      Wanjugu, Sabinah
      Traditionally, students within my digital marketing class have had an opportunity to work with a real client from the community to develop a digital marketing strategy. An approach that gave the student an avenue to enhance their learning process through a hands-on experience. However, due to challenges caused by COVID-19, I had to adjust this approach to experiential learning by use of free web-based resources that I incorporated within my classroom. These web-based resources ensured enhanced students' learning throughout the semester. Simulations: Previous studies on the use of simulation in business education have shown that simulations enhance students' learning process and boost student’s confidence and employability (Avramenko, 2012). I incorporated Mimic pro, a computer-assisted simulation within my digital marketing class to give students a simulated real-life learning opportunity. In Mimic Pro, the students assumed a digital marketer's role for an online digital camera store. Over the course of 6 rounds, students worked to improve the effectiveness of their online advertising campaigns. The simulation's goal was to provide students with a better understanding of paid marketing platforms, strategic keyword research, targeted ads, landing page management, email marketing, and key performance indicators (metrics). The students mentioned that the simulation helped provide them with an opportunity to promote concept attainment, allow for interaction between teams, and feedback to improve their knowledge and skills. Third-party certifications: I also incorporated third-party certifications within the class to back up the skills learned throughout the semester and within the Mimic Pro simulation. One challenge within the business field is balancing the concepts learned within the classroom with the specific skill needed by students to be successful in their business-related careers. Third-party certifications play a part in integrating the emerging techniques and technologies within the industry into existing business courses as part of the overall course learning outcomes (Kim et al., 2019). The current free online certification programs in marketing include Google Analytics certification, Google Ads certification, Hootsuite Social Marketing certification, and HubSpot’s certifications. In my digital marketing course, students took the Google Analytic Certification and Google Ads Certification, and by the end of the semester, they were able to add the two certifications into their resume, boosting their employability. Participants will be encouraged to reflect on the various free web-based resources available that could be implemented within their business courses to enhance students' learning experience and make them career ready. References Avramenko, A. (2012). Enhancing students' employability through business simulation. Education+ Training. Kim, D. H., Hettche, M., & Spiller, L. (2019). Incorporating third-party online certifications into a marketing course: The effect of learning style on student responses. Marketing Education Review, 29(3), 193-206.