The REAL experience: Does it work?

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The Retail Experience for Active Learning (REAL) project was implemented in Singapore with support from local retailers. The project was a pilot test to find out if students learn better when immersed in authentic learning environments where they can make meaningful connections between their school curriculum and their experiences. One hundred Secondary 3 Elements of Business (EBS) students voluntarily participated in the programme to experience a real customer service setting where the lessons learned in the EBS classroom could be applied at the workplace and vice versa. REAL students reported higher levels of engagement in the EBS classroom and perceived their learning environments as being more constructive. Qualitative data was also showed students' ability to transfer the knowledge and skills learned between the classroom and workplace. Implications of integrating a work attachment experience to complement classroom lessons and recommendations of strategies for integration for all students are discussed.
This brief was based on the project OER 11/09 KNK: Experiential Learning in Authentic Learning Environments: An Impact Study of Retail Experience for Active Learning (REAL).
Koh, N. K. (2012). The REAL experience: Does it work? (Research Brief No. 12-003). National Institute of Education (Singapore).