Reflective Thinking and Experiential Learning: A Quasi-Experimental Quanti-Quali Response to Greater Diversification of Activities and Greater Integration of Student Profiles
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Reflective Thinking and Experiential Learning: A Quasi-Experimental Quanti-Quali Response to Greater Diversification of Activities and Greater Integration of Student Profiles

Authors: P. Bogas

Abstract:

As a scientific contribution to this discussion, a pedagogical intervention of a quasi-experimental nature was developed, with a mixed methodology, evaluating the intervention within a single curricular unit of Marketing, using cases based on real challenges of brands, business simulation and customer projects. Primary and secondary experiences were incorporated in the intervention: the primary experiences are the experiential activities themselves; the secondary experiences resulted from the primary experience, such as reflection and discussion in work teams. A diversified learning relationship was encouraged through the various connections between the different members of the learning community. The present study concludes that in the same context, the students' response can be described as: students who reinforce the initial deep approach, students who maintain the initial deep approach level and others who change from an emphasis on the deep approach to one closer to superficial. This typology did not always confirm studies reported in the literature, namely, whether the initial level of deep processing would influence the superficial and the opposite. The result of this investigation points to the inclusion of pedagogical and didactic activities that integrate different motivations and initial strategies, leading to a possible adoption of deep approaches to learning, since it revealed statistically significant differences in the difference in the scores of the deep/superficial approach and the experiential level. In the case of real challenges, the categories of “attribution of meaning and meaning of studied” and the possibility of “contact with an aspirational context” for their future professional stand out. In this category, the dimensions of autonomy that will be required of them were also revealed when comparing the classroom context of real cases and the future professional context and the impact they may have on the world. Regarding to the simulated practice, two categories of response stand out: on the one hand, the motivation associated with the possibility of measuring the results of the decisions taken, an awareness of oneself and, on the other hand, the additional effort that this practice required for some of the students.

Keywords: Experiential learning, higher education, marketing, mixed methods, reflective thinking.

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