Experiential learning: a professional pathway to the stars: Event Management Education and Curriculum Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review


Educators today are tasked with developing lifelong learners who can survive and thrive in a global knowledge economy – learners who have the capability to effectively and creatively apply skills and competencies to new situations in an ever-changing, complex world (JISC 2012a). A primary function of the higher education sector is to increase access to higher level skills and prepare learners for the world of work; to positively fulfil this purpose; adjustments within the curricula provided will always be required. As JISC (2012b) suggest that to effectively meet the needs of learners, institutions now need to collaborate more with employers to align curriculum design in higher education programmes with the requirements of employers and the workplace.
Many employers in the events industry are now seeking individuals with a range of attributes besides academic ability and subject specialism, such as communication skills, team working, interpersonal skills, problem solving, flexibility, digital literacy and, above all, an ability to evidence practical skills (QAA 2016). Graduates need to be commercially aware, creative, entrepreneurial and numerate. It has been recognised that to achieve this desired vision, professional bodies and corporate organisations have a role to play in embedding standards of ethics and practice in the curricula, with a large proportion of employers stipulating t hat more graduates should undertake professional qualifications since these provide the evidence of practical skills that employers require (Bladen and Kennell 2014, Holmes 2013).

This research aims to draw upon these pertinent issues by presenting a case study of such an example where a professional pathway has been embedded within the curricula to better reflect the demands of the business sector and the requirements of event management graduates. The educational partnership has successfully combined experiential learning with workplace opportunities, giving students a unique opportunity for exposure to live industry projects, and client case studies.

The purpose of this research is to explore student perceptions of the experiential learning journey employed within the curricula, through a professional pathway. It will examine the value perceptions and journey of those students who have engaged with the professional pathway and successfully achieved the professional certification. This research is important because it offers and insight into the benefits such learning pathways can exhibit to students from business and management disciplines. A mixed method approach of surveys and focus groups is the methodological path employed within the study. Preliminary results indicate that significant value is attached to such experiential learning experiences in helping institutions to develop graduates who are business ready and desirable to employers, as well as positively influencing the student learning experience (Laurillard 2002, Lee and McLoughlin 2007, Robertson et al. 2012).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication Association of Event Management Education (AEME) Conference 2017: Association of Event Management Education
Place of PublicationCardiff
PublisherAssociation of Event Management Education (AEME)
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventAssociation for Events Management Education Annual Conference 2017: Association of Event Management Education - Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


ConferenceAssociation for Events Management Education Annual Conference 2017
Abbreviated titleAEME
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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