Implementation of Effective Experiential Learning Environments

Dan Cormany, Andrew Hale Feinstein

Abstract


This paper applies the experiential learning theory of Kolb (1984), the sequential case study learning theory of Knoop (1984), the techniques of effective class role play (Gross Davis, 1993; Pike, 1994) and Rausch’s (1999) recommendations for debriefing to a class exercise of graduate Hotel Administration students in teaching the necessity of crisis planning for hotel properties. Starting with the concept of four learning modalities presented by Kolb, we suggest introducing four instructional elements when developing effective experiential learning environments. As judged through qualitative assessment of student participation and the final product produced by the group as a result of its role play, the integration of these theories and techniques produced a dynamic, participative and productive environment. Presented first is a brief explanation of the theories, followed by a rationale for their use in this particular teaching objective, followed by detail of the manner in which the experience was framed, implemented, and discussed. While the role play presented is specifically aimed at demonstrating the critical importance of advance planning in responding to a crisis in a hotel setting, it is believed that the instructional model created herein may be generalized for application in other educational contexts.

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