Project-based experiential business education seeks to provide students with lessons that are meaningful, practical, and enduring. While previous research has sought to understand how students and faculty members react to such educational experiences, it is also important to understand the perceptions of the business clients who engage with programs employing project-based education. The aim of this study was to better understand the experiences of business clients with whom students engaged as part of an undergraduate business capstone course. Two hundred fifty-three previous clients were surveyed with a 22.4% response rate. Responses were subjected to content analysis to cluster replies into representative themes, which were subsequently checked by comparison with responses from a focus group comprised of five of the original respondents. Sentiment analysis was then utilized to compare the prevalence of positive and negative statements associated with the themes. Responses related to working with the students and student learning were substantially positive (89% and 73% of statements, respectively). Student contributions were positively noted by many clients, with 86% reporting that changes were made based upon student recommendations. Seventy-seven percent reported that student engagement resulted in value creation for the client’s organization. Notably, 71% of the clients reported long-term, positive impact from the engagement with the students. These responses indicate that the business clients perceive engagement with students in project-based experiential learning to have substantial value. When coupled with previous research, these results suggest a mutually beneficial experience for the clients, students, and faculty for project-based, experiential learning.
Aho, Wayne; Cagle, Wendy; Marvel, Jon; Smith, Michael; and Wright, Edward
"Project-based pedagogy: The client's perspective,"
International Journal for Business Education: Vol. 162:
1, Article 1.
Available at: https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/ijbe/vol162/iss1/1
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