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Educational Research for Social Change

versión On-line ISSN 2221-4070


BOSHOFF, Salomien  y  FERNANDES, Naquita. Connecting the Classroom to the Business World: Evolvement of a PALAR Journey in a Disciplinary Environment. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2020, vol.9, n.spe, pp.58-77. ISSN 2221-4070.

There is an increasing demand for skilled graduates who can integrate and apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world context. As a means of enhancing students' employability skills in an exit-level strategic marketing module, two lecturers embarked on a PALAR (participatory action learning action research) journey over a period of three years to design a skills-centred curriculum with corresponding assessments centred upon partnerships between educators, students, and businesses. In order to attain the desired level of practical learning, the partners formed part of the entire assessment process. This included the businesses' (local, national, and international) involvement in the pro cess of identifying real-life problems that served as the foundation of the assessments. Furthermore, the business partners also formed part of the feedback system, empowering the students with practical, industry-specific feedback while, in turn, enhancing the businesses' idea generation process with insight obtained from the students' thinking. During this process, the lecturers redesigned assessments until strategic alignment was attained between the partners' needs and the module's exit-level outcomes. The results reveal that the partnerships between educators, students, and businesses added value to the students' learning experience and enhanced their perceived employability skills. This article thereby contributes to extant literature by explaining how the PALAR approach can be practically applied in the field of business management and marketing. The practical details provided can easily be utilised by educators in the same and other similar fields. Furthermore, an established set of reflective questions and a summary framework have been included, which can aid a lecturer in evolving a PALAR journey. This personal PALAR journey, and the reflection thereon, proved not to be rigid in nature but, instead, fluid and highly adaptable. Each recursive PALAR cycle (plan-act-evaluate/observe-reflect) is needed and cannot be completed without the others. In conclusion, the way one addresses each cycle will be unique to one's teaching style and discipline-specific needs. This article provides educators in similar positions with insight into how they can use a PALAR process when designing their modules and assessments to foster employable graduates.

Palabras clave : higher education; teaching and learning; collaboration; business partnerships; PALAR; action research; employability.

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