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Evaluating the skills strategy through a Graduate Certificate in Management: An experiential learning theory approach

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how a UK business school is addressing the Government's skills strategy through its Graduate Certificate in Management, and to identify good practice and development needs and to clarify how the Graduate Certificate is adapting to the needs of Generation X and Millennial students. The paper also aims to test Kolb and Kolb's experiential learning theory (ELT) in a business school setting. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study methodology was adopted. In order to get a cross-section of views and triangulate the data, three focus groups were held, supported by reading documentation about the programme of study. Findings ‐ The skills strategy is not just an ambition for some business schools, but is already part of the curriculum. Generation X and the Millennials have more in common with the positive attitudes associated with older generations than stereotyped views might allow. ELT provides a useful theoretical framework for evaluating a programme of study and student attitudes. Research limitations/implications ‐ The research findings from one case study are reported, limiting the generalisability of the study. Practical implications ‐ Good practice and development needs are identified which support the implementation of the Government's skills strategy and address employer concerns about student skills. Originality/value ‐ New empirical data are reported which supports the use of ELT in evaluating programmes of study and student attitudes to work.
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Keywords: Business schools; Experiential learning; Skills; Students; United Kingdom; Workplace learning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 17 August 2010

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