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In favor of large classes: a social networks perspective on experiential learning

In favor of large classes: a social networks perspective on experiential learning

Kofinas, Alexander and Crystal Han-Huei, Tsay ORCID: 0000-0003-4959-0411 (2021) In favor of large classes: a social networks perspective on experiential learning. Journal of Management Education. pp. 1-26. ISSN 1052-5629 (Print), 1552-6658 (Online) (doi:

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Most of the literature has viewed large classes as a problem and a challenge. Furthermore, large classes are often presented to be an obstacle to students’ experiential learning and a multitude of solutions can be found in the literature to manage large classes; solutions that include innovative technologies, alternative assessment designs, or expanding the capacity of delivery. This conceptual paper advocates that large classes, when used intentionally as a pedagogical tool, can be a powerful means for socialized and experiential learning for our students. In this work we connect the phenomenon of large classes with social network theory and concepts to re-conceptualize large classes as a social micro-cosmos consisting of a multitude of interconnected student communities. On this conceptual basis we offer three positive features of large classes: (i) higher levels of freedom for students to learn in their own terms (ii) learning from a diverse body of students and (iii) the provision of meaningful experiences of learning. We conclude with suggestions that should enable educators in large classes shift from an individualistic psychology-based model of experiential learning to a sociological model of experiential learning.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: large classes, social networks, diversity, othering, freedom to learn
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Business
Faculty of Business > Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour
Greenwich Research into Innovative Pedagogies (GRIP)
Last Modified: 29 Jul 2021 09:08
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None

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