The Trials and Triumphs of Running Cross-Year Experiential Modules: Blending Theory and Practice to Advance Student Professional Development and Academic Practice.


  • Belinda Vickers
  • Dr Elliot Pirie
  • Christina Reid



Experiential Learning, Peer-led collaborative learning, Digital marketing education, Professional development, Advancement of academic practice


This paper aims to evaluate the impact of two innovative cross-year experiential modules operated jointly between undergraduate Stages 3 and 4 on the professional development of students and the advancement of academic practice at Robert Gordon University in Scotland. Drawing upon pedagogy, including active and experiential learning and qualitative data collected from Stage 3 and 4 student focus groups and academic staff interviews, this paper aims to analyse the opportunities and challenges presented by cross-year experiential modules in relation to student engagement and professional development, and lessons learnt with implications on academic practice. These modules, designed to simulate a real-world Digital Marketing Agency, are a distinctive part of the BA (Hons) Digital Marketing course. They provide collaborative learning problem-solving opportunities through cross-year group work involving Stage 4 students taking on leadership roles in strategic planning over Stage 3 students, in operational roles, who develop related campaign materials in response to the requirements of live clients. This is reflected in the application of two distinct sets of criteria to assess the students’ coursework in accordance with stage-specific learning outcomes. Each group is supported by an academic and industry mentor for the duration of the modules.


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