Engaging Students of Business Studies / Management Courses in Higher Education for Effective Learning

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Do and Learn Approach

Students doing Business Studies or Management courses learn through different methods in classrooms. Case studies, group discussion, critical thinking exercises, assignments, seminars, presentations, quizzes and other classroom activities support regular lectures for enhancing students’ learning experiences.

Furthermore, educational institutions use various strategies to assess students’ involvement and contributions in such activities. Therefore, teachers encourage students to participate in these activities as a means to get real-world exposure and develop job-related skills.

However, have you ever wondered how much of this classroom learning is transferred and applied at the work settings? Most of them start anew at workplace and learn everything through experience in a particular setting. Besides, job providers expect the novice to learn from scratch and adapt to their work environment. Most times work realities are far from known theories.

Better ways to equip the students to face workplace challenges are to engage them in a more dynamic way outside the classrooms. It calls for engaging students through the Do and Learn approach. It not only incorporates hands-on training but also gives them solid field exposure that shapes their thoughts, attitudes and behavior towards work and people.

I wish to list few creative yet known strategies to engage students through the Do and Learn approach. I was involved in few of these activities as a student during my post-graduation studies and later when I started teaching in a college, our faculty team had the opportunity to implement these among our students. Hence, I can state with confidence that they have been instrumental in bringing out the talents, skills and knowledge in students. These activities helped students (including myself) to interact with different people, work with them, face challenges, solve problems and bring about changes.

Do-and-Learn Approach - Examples from Experience

Self-Help Groups Products Exhibition:

Students, under our guidance organize an exhibition annually for Women Self-Help groups involved in home and small businesses such as toy making, incense-stick making, and foodstuff, hand-made accessories such as hair clips, jewelry, handbags, key chains, clothes and paintings. They network with NGOs, philanthropists and an event management company and put up huge exhibition stalls within the campus. The women are given a platform to display and market their products among students and outsiders in order to generate direct income without the involvement of intermediaries. The event is a huge success; it generates good income for women, and benefits the students in innumerable ways.

Product Display / Entrepreneurial Talent Show:

In the same event as explained above students gifted with skills such as drawing, painting, making toys and other handmade arts and crafts are encouraged to display their products and market it among the visitors to their stall. Through this, students are able to sell their creations and take further orders. This paves way for their entrepreneurial venture.

Business Club:

Students, under the guidance of teachers, manage and run a Business Club on campus. The students organize various programs such as business talks by successful entrepreneurs and corporate personnel, Business idea presentations, industrial visits and training, soft-skills training programs and seminars. Students not only organize but also participate in these events / competitions for displaying their talents. Furthermore, they do a case study of successful entrepreneurs and develop it as a ‘Who is who’ reference.

Advertisement and Marketing:

Students engage in fun activities such as creating advertisements, participating in market surveys and road shows for product launch (students enjoy participating in product launch events wearing company sponsored t-shirts, caps and accessories). They also volunteer for meeting with government or corporate officials for getting appointments for institution events and for focused interviews.

Event Planning and Management:

Students volunteer their services to event management companies or work as a trainee and engage in several interesting activities such as designing and preparing Backdrops for major events, including events within the campus, help in planning and executing corporate sports events, designing and printing invitation cards/ banners/ hoardings and overseeing catering arrangements.

Organizing Career Fairs:

Students volunteer for organizing career fairs within campus and take part in mock interviews to sharpen their self-marketing skills. They also extend help in inviting companies to the Fair, preparing flyers, marketing and inviting the press.

Community Reach / CSR activities:

Students participate in community reach activities such as organizing medical/health awareness camps, computer literacy programs to the less privileged and conducting educational programs among school goers through role-plays, models and demonstrations.

Block Placement:

As part of their academic requirements, students do a block placement training for a minimum of two months (after they complete the course on campus) in any business establishment related to their interest. They work with the HR / Administration department in the organization for gaining necessary work experience.

These are some methods of engaging students beyond the classrooms. They help students to deal with workplace challenges, prepare them to face their future at workplace with confidence and groom them for a successful career.

Do you have more ideas for engaging students effectively? Please leave your suggestions in the box below.