Innovative approaches to experiential teaching in management decision making education

This workshop was funded as part of one of HEA Social Science’s strategic priorities 2013 – 14 ‘Active and experiential learning in the Social Sciences’.

This blog post was compiled by Shaofeng Liu, Plymouth University (


The ability to make good decisions is the mark of successful and promotable managers. Management decision making poses distinctive challenges, but also exceptional potential to educate, provoke and inspire students – future business managers. The aim of this workshop is to champion and promote innovative approaches to experiential teaching/learning in teaching management decision making, so that delegates can bring insights and share new ideas. In doing so, we aim to stimulate educators to re-evaluate their own approaches to teaching and to encourage their colleagues to do so. Besides the knowledge in integrative decision technologies and analytical methods, the workshop also aims to help delegates develop skills in critical thinking, self-reflection and continuous improvement.

This one-day workshop was organised by Professor Shaofeng Liu and her team in the Graduate School of Management at Plymouth University .


The workshop was held in the historical Mast House building, where Plymouth Graduate School of Management is located with an amazing sea view. During the day, 28 delegates from a number of universities (majority of whom were from the Southwest of the UK) enjoyed the network opportunity and actively participated in the discussion on the topic.

Shaofeng’s introduction laid out the purpose of the workshop, followed by a presentation from the Head of Graduate School of Management, Professor Phil Megicks, who outlined how management decision making education fits in the School’s curriculum and why experiential teaching is important in the School’s teaching activities.


We were delighted to have two well-known keynote speakers, Dr Sarah Keast from Plymouth University and Dr Marion Schulze from University of Central Lancashire. Sarah is the author for the popular textbook “Rational Decision Making” and Marian is an expert in SAP and decision systems.


The workshop provided four organised discussion sessions led by academics with short presentations from different perspectives. John McCormack from University of Bristol led a session on living case studies with a presentation on engaging practitioners in integrative learning. The session on creativity was led by Dr Varuni Wimalasiri from University of Exeter.

Two colleagues from Plymouth University, Dr Festus Oderanti and Dimitrios Kolovos, led the sessions on teaching Artificial Intelligence technologies in decision making and the effectiveness of experiential teaching approaches and future directions.


The workshop finished with an exciting panel session which provided delegates a fantastic opportunity to have insightful dialogues with our panellists (Sarah Keast, Marion Schulze, John McCormack, Varuni Wimalasiri, and Festus Oderanti).

Further reading

Readers may be also interested in the international professional society in decision making, the Euro Working Group on Decision Support Systems (EWG-DSS).


What experiential teaching approaches are used in your teaching practice and how useful do you find they are?

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