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It feels real: events management and online experiential-learning in COVID-19.

Goldie, Katherine; Ironside, Rachael; Pirie, Elliot



This paper examines the experience of students transitioning between online and in-person live event projects during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing upon longitudinal qualitative data collected over a 3-year period, we explored how students perceived the challenges, their own development, and the pedagogical changes. Events management pedagogy relies on experiential learning and the hosting of student-led in-person events. The absence of in-person events and teaching had a significant negative impact on students, not caused by the adjustment to learning environment or assessment but by the act of change itself. Students ultimately recognized the value of experiential learning online and the benefits of developing digital skills, communication, resilience, adaptability, and confidence, leading to the embedding of online communications and virtual elements within 2022's live event projects. This paper considers the lessons learned from transitioning between in-person and digital event projects and evaluates the future of online tools for experiential learning in higher education.


GOLDIE, K., IRONSIDE, R. and PIRIE, E. 2023. It feels real: events management and online experiential-learning in COVID-19. Distance education [online], 44(2), pages 230-245. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 21, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 30, 2023
Publication Date Jun 30, 2023
Deposit Date May 18, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 18, 2023
Journal Distance education
Print ISSN 0158-7919
Electronic ISSN 1475-0198
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 2
Pages 230-245
Keywords Online experiential learning; Collaborative online learning; Events management; Experiential learning; Online learning; Events management
Public URL


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