Viktorija Piščalkienė, Hans Ingemann Lottrup

Abstract

From solid, hands on experience with the challenges of intercultural differences to a significantly chan­ged personal mindset and a new perception of their individual education programmes, a student survey provides new evidence of the advantages of expe­riential learning. Experiential learning encompas­ses a variety of out-of-classroom-activities including project based learning, internships, service learning, participation in the research and other student crea­tive work experiences. Kolb’s experiential learning theory (KELT) is comprised of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

The aim – to reveal benefits of experiential learning based on student participation in the project “Villages on Move Baltic” (VOMB) tour.

Material and methods. Experiential learning and experience reflection hold a significant role as an educational methodology, and it is a shared value to prepare students for the challenges in a changing world by developing professionals who can think critically and reflectively. As mandatory assignment during the tour, the student collective formulated se­ven questions, and an analysis of the students’ indi­vidual replies to and reflections on these questions forms the basis of this article.

Qualitative research – more specifically a content analysis – was used in this study, that was conduc­ted based upon the replies from participating stu­dents from Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Denmark (N=17).

Except for three from high school level, students re­presented BA-programmes within health care, phy­siotherapy, social work, community pedagogy, and innovation & entrepreneurship.

Results. Students expressed their positive attitude on the participation in the Baltic Tour. Students‘ ref­lections highlighted various scenarios of future life and career. The learning potential of the Baltic Tour can be described in three areas. Students, regardless of nationality, expressed a) cohesion of the theory and practice; b) knowledge application in a professional perspective; c) intercultural and international expe­rience. Student reflections revealed that participation in the Baltic Tour influenced personal growth, social competencies development and improvement of co­gnitive skills. Student reflections on the Baltic Tour itself included appointing more attention to informal communication during the tour and more information and involvement before. In addition, more activities in cross-nation groups and the use of creative team building tools were recommended. Students’ view to criteria for the quality of VOMB-ideas mentioned “Large number of participants“, “Attractive types of physical activities”, “Involving people from all so­cial groups“ and “Ecological approach and security during events“.

Conclusions. Students’ survey based on the project “Villages on Move Baltic” tour highlighted the bene­fits of participation to personal abilities, key compe­tencies and professional skills improvement.

Keyword(s): “Villages on Move Baltic”, physical activity, experiential learning.
DOI10.5200/sm-hs.2018.064
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