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  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: February 2010

13 - Experiential methods


Experience is the best teacher.

Experiential teaching methods are those that rely on data generated during the exercise/learning experience rather than on data prepared in advance as with lectures and cases. Experiential methods engage students in experiences that simulate social phenomena. They include games such as Starpower, Gazogle, Global Markets, Sub-Arctic Survival, and the Organization Game as well as computer simulations like Markstrat, Sentra, Cogitate, and CapSim. These exercises, and a host of others, are available worldwide for instructors to purchase and use.

By engaging students in simulations of business situations, experiential methods generate their own data for students to consider and digest. Unlike the case method, in which the case provides the information to deal with, and unlike the lecture where the instructor and the text provide the information, experiential methods establish a platform for students to generate their own information and then to analyze and use it. What a student analyzes and learns from is not the written introduction to the exercise, but what happens in the exercise itself. In this sense, the increasingly common outdoor exercises (often called “ropes courses” because many include rappelling or rope-bridge construction and use, etc.) also fit into the category of experiential exercises. And in a sense, role-playing, as described above, is a mini-experiential exercise embedded in a class the same way a lecturette can be embedded in a case discussion.

Michael Polanyi (1962) said that some kinds of knowledge are logically unspecifiable.

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Teaching Management
  • Online ISBN: 9780511617850
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