Experiential Learning at Les Roches Marbella

on October 11 | in Academic Industry News | | with No Comments

When thinking of education, most people recall their school experience when they were children or young adults, absorbing knowledge, mainly in an authoritarian, or at least in a one-way direction that was teacher centered.  This is confirmed by the way we have the noun ‘Education’ explained in the dictionary (“English Oxford dictionary”, n.d.) as “giving or receiving instruction or a body of knowledge”. The positive side is that ‘an education’ is defined as “an enlightening experience”.

In the review of Knowles’s principles of Andragogy, McGrath (2009) argues that these principles are guidelines for teachers or facilities to enhance the experience and learning with adults, but not a theory of adult learning. Learning styles and teaching methods should be varied, but are as important for adults as students in higher education as within pedagogy. Teachers and training facilitators use Kolb’s experimental learning theory (ELT) to integrate experience in their curriculum to enhance the learnings for their students, especially in higher education (Kolb and Kolb, 2005).

Leadership & Human Resources Management students participate in experiential learning exercises.

As faculty at Les Roches Marbella, I use these guidelines when teaching my undergraduates. As mentioned by Howard, Carver and Lane, (1996) the tools of Bloom’s taxonomy for assessments and Kolb’s ELT improves students’ performances in the classroom and exams. Recently. I used a ‘card game’ to make the class even more learner-centered, replacing a traditional lecture on a topic like ‘Trust and teamwork’. In the class of Leadership and HR Management, this exercise focuses on the experience and application to help the students better understand the concepts of trust, relationships, and teamwork.

The use of adult learning principles and other educational theories in class helps students to absorb and apply the material better, delivering a deeper learning and therefore, better results not only for themselves but also for the other stakeholders, such as their future employers.


Howard, R. A., Carver, C. A., & Lane, W. D. (1996). Felder’s learning styles, Bloom’s taxonomy, and the Kolb learning cycle: tying it all together in the CS2 course. SIGCSE Bulletin. 28(1) 227-231.

Knowles. M. (1989). The Making of an Adult Educator. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass

Kolb, A.Y. & Kolb, D.A. (2005) Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(2): 193–212. 

McGrath, V. (2009). Reviewing the Evidence on How Adult Students Learn: An Examination of Knowles’ Model of Andragogy. Adult Learner: The Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education, 99- 110. 

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