• In favor of large classes: a social networks perspective on experiential learning

      Kofinas, Alexander K.; Tsay, Crystal Han-Huei; University of Bedfordshire; University of Greenwich (SAGE Publications Inc., 2021-06-15)
      Most of the literature has viewed large classes as a problem and a challenge. Furthermore, large classes are often presented to be an obstacle to students’ experiential learning and a multitude of solutions can be found in the literature to manage large classes; solutions that include innovative technologies, alternative assessment designs, or expanding the capacity of delivery. This conceptual paper advocates that large classes, when used intentionally as a pedagogical tool, can be a powerful means for socialized and experiential learning for our students. In this work we connect the phenomenon of large classes with social network theory and concepts to re-conceptualize large classes as a social micro-cosmos consisting of a multitude of interconnected student communities. On this conceptual basis we offer three positive features of large classes: (i) higher levels of freedom for students to learn in their own terms (ii) learning from a diverse body of students and (iii) the provision of meaningful experiences of learning. We conclude with suggestions that should enable educators in large classes shift from an individualistic psychology-based model of experiential learning to a sociological model of experiential learning.