Taking Business Students on a Field Trip
As you develop learning activities for your class it can become challenging at times to find new tasks or projects that stimulate students’ involvement in the class and generate their interest in the course topics. How about taking your students on a field trip? Field trips have been utilized in traditional classes as a means of bringing students into real world environments that allow them to explore aspects of the business world from a hands-on perspective. For an adjunct business instructor who is teaching a class on campus that meets only once a week the idea of a field trip may not seem possible or logical; however, it is possible to develop an adapted form of a field trip as a learning activity that can enhance the process of learning.
If you want students to take an actual field trip you could develop an activity, individually or in groups, to visit an organization or small business and talk to managers, leaders, or business owners as a means of gaining real-world perspectives that they can share with the class. Students can focus on learning about characteristics or traits that contributed to the success of that business or organization. This is likely to show students how the success of an organization is dependent upon the contributions and performance of all employees within all departments. Students can also learn about the cyclical nature of business and strategies utilized during challenging economic times. You could also ask students to examine the leadership of the organization instead and examine characteristics or traits that contributed to the leader’s success. What students often discover is that success didn’t happen overnight and the journey to success involved hard work, determination, failures, perseverance, and a strong mindset.
Another option for an adapted learning activity is to develop virtual field trips. You can assign this type of task as an in-class activity or as homework, either individually or in groups. As a virtual activity, ask students to visit websites for businesses or organizations that offer products or services related to your course concepts. They can examine the information provided within the website, make an assessment based upon criteria you’ve assigned, and present their findings in class. The criteria established for the assignment can include any aspect of the course topics you want to reinforce in a real-world setting. For example, if you are teaching a marketing class you can have students assess the effectiveness of the organization’s approach to a message that consumers will relate to and respond to in a positive manner.
Another means of adapting field trips as a learning activity is to bring the organization or business to the classroom by inviting a guest speaker to the class. You are likely to find business owners, managers, salespersons, and people in other business-related occupations that would be willing to talk to a group of students and share their background and experience. This is a way to reinforce your lectures and the course concepts, while bringing the materials to life. In addition to listening to the guest speaker students should also be provided with an opportunity to ask questions as this will help them process what they are hearing and encourage them to actively participate.
When it’s time for a new activity that will stimulate your students’ interest in the course and help to reinforce the application of theories to the real world, a field trip may be an option you can implement. From physical trips to virtual trips, along with guest speakers that bring the real world to the classroom, it is another facilitation technique that will likely enhance the process of learning.