Paul Gordon Dickinson


In order to meet the needs of employers and to make students more employable Laurea University, Finland has developed an “experiential” educational model through project-based learning in English based around real business projects linking theory studied. The programme is a bachelors degree conducted with international exchange students from many different countries (including Turkey, Germany, Romania, Spain, China, Holland, Mexico, Japan, and Italy) within project teams. English is a second language to these students, but it is not known as to how and if their language develops during the programme. The study considers the “experiential” nature of both the programme and the language from a literature perspective then focusing particularly on the learning of English by the students without any formal teaching classes. The students participated within projects for one semester (via an exchange programme) during an academic period from August 2018 to May 2020. There is a quantitative empirical approach (using a written questionnaire) which was qualitative in nature (including open questions) which related to the assessment of the English language learning experience of 29 international exchange students. Their feedback via answers to written questions forms the basis of the study. Findings reveal that such an approach to language learning can be successful and was positive in the sense of flexibility, relevance and enjoyability as well as the easy access and help of technology. The students generally felt their language level had improved through informal discussions and by use of a language app connected to the project work. Also, some students felt that the “learning by doing” (through the projects) improved their language authenticity and application. However, some students felt their language learning would have further increased by the use of a “weekly relevant noun/adjective list” during the project meetings. The research overall shows that some language improvement can be achieved informally within an “experiential” educational model through project-based learning. Additionally, that can be within one semester and by students from different countries with different educational systems.

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language learning, experiential, technology, education, projects

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejae.v6i1.3602


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