Practical Experiential LearningTM

At the core of The Basel School of Business is a focus on the application of modern business theories to real-world best practices through Practical Experiential LearningTM. Case conceptualizations, cross-functional learning teams and industry partnerships help create an intellectual space which fosters creativity, exploration, and leadership development.


PELTM is ideal for students wishing for active and inspired learning. It is especially well suited for developing creative minds, that crave the space for self-development while pursuing their purpose and professional goals. It is a welcome challenge to students realizing their potential and meeting like-minded colleagues.

The classroom discussions and excursions are an opportunity for exploring the depth, complexity and inter-connectedness of issues. Students gain a deeper appreciation of the necessity to incorporate multicultural awareness and inter-disciplinary knowledge into business decisions.


The History of PELTM

BSB's founders, Jacqueline and Philip Weinberg, developed the concept of Practical Experiential Learning in direct response to the changing needs of today’s learners.  The experiential components of PEL are based in part upon the teachings of John Dewey (1859-1952) whose ideas are rooted in the philosophy of pragmatism, stating that reality must be experienced in order to understand it. He believed that both students and teachers must interact with the environment to adapt and learn from it, and emphasized a student-centered methodology that adjusts to the learning needs and interests of the students, which creates a dialogue between teacher and student and allows the teacher to integrate points of interest of the student into the classroom. 

However, the Weinbergs understood that modern education must go far beyond experiential. Students are overwhelmed by an influx of information which traps them in a pattern of knowledge consumption at the cost of idea generation. This kills the entrepreneurial spirit and significantly hinders intellectual advancement, risk taking and creativity.

Students progress when they truly appreciate the personal and professional significance, as well as the social impact that both the knowledge and their actions will have. This allows them to find meaning the in material. 

The PEL methodology resonates with students as it synthesizes this practical appreciation of the theoretical with the physical application of the experimental, giving the students a deeper understanding of the material. 


How does PELTM work?

In contrast to traditional authoritarian teaching methods and rote learning, PEL’s method is based on progressive learning that postulates students must be invested in their learning. This can only be achieved when the curriculum is relevant to students’ lives and focuses on current social issues. The benefit of PEL is that students regain a love of learning, identify their own passion and gain a clear focus of both their professional and personal goals.

A Practical Example:

The key to the success of PEL is understanding the relevance of the topic and understanding its application. 

Discussing in the Classroom

The world of work is different than it was just a few short years ago. As the next generation of managers prepares for leadership roles, they must understand the factors which are influencing the nature of work.

Our dialog began as part of the Economics for Managers course in the Spring of 2015 when the students studied the theory of labor, the role of innovation and human capital in productivity growth, shifting priorities of workers, and unemployment issues. As a key component of PEL, field excursions serve to reinforce the theories and concepts that are explored during class discussions.

Reinforcing with Industry Leaders

Each summer we attend the Rencontres Economiques d'Aix en Provence, which government officials, economists, and global business leaders such as Tidjane Thiam, CEO of Credit Suisse.

At the 2015  conference on 'The Future of Work', the discussion centered around the disappearance of the middle management, increase in job mobility and the threat of robotization. Bernard Garnier, Chairman of PwC France and Francophone Africa, told us how the most important characteristic for future managers is Flexibility.

Witnessing Theory in Action

This trend towards an increasing gap between lower and higher skilled workers, as well as the importance of robotization were reinforced in November of 2015 with a visit to the Peugeot-Citroën factory in Mulhouse (pictured below).

Two of the main production halls are nearly totally automated, leading to a dramatic decrease in lower-skilled employment, and an increase in demand for higher skills. The new production line, which will open by 2017, will be even more automated.

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