The classroom is a sterile environment - desks, chairs, blackboards, projections – all jammed into a room built on a 30-degree angle, intent on leaning your focus and attention towards the front.
At the front, a wise person speaks.
They have insight, experience and honed intellect. Their office is adorned with framed documents declaring their achieved wisdom and hung above bookshelves containing books with their name on the spine.
They are worthy teachers, they’ve earned their place at the front of the room. But what they share in the classroom is so often just words. Words on the board, words from their mouth, words on papers they hand out.
Scientists and psychologists have determined there are seven ways people learn, and for verbal learners, who flourish using words both written and in speech, the classroom is utopia.
But even these verbal learners who thrive in the lecture hall will often fall short when they reach the workplace. Because the work environment is different, there is no singular experience.
The work environment encapsulates all seven of the learning styles. Visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary environments are the reality - they happen every day “out there”.
So how does anyone prepare for this onslaught? How can anyone prosper without the proper exposure?
Experiential Learning at Northeastern University
Northeastern University’s Master of Sports Leadership program
has a unique approach to this problem, they focus on experiential learning, which as it sounds, is an emphasis on learning outside the classroom and inside an actual workplace.
The Northeastern program balances between cutting edge classroom learning from active sports business leaders and experiential learning, in essence a co-op program where students work to learn.
“Students tackle a real-life problem or project in the workplace and they design a set of solutions and recommendations that would address, what we term, a key performance area for the business,” explains Joseph Griffin, a member of the Northeastern faculty. “Then once they develop that set of recommendations they actually implement it in the context of their workplace.”
This combination of learning high-level concepts and the intricacies of sports leadership in the classroom, and applying knowledge to an actual workplace environment with budgets, deadlines, deliverables and pressure, is what separates Northeastern from the rest of the Masters programs offered in sports leadership.
The faculty at Northeastern makes the difference, as a vast majority are current practitioners in the sports industry, sharing their have a wealth of current experience and contacts in sports business.
“We look to incorporate experiential learning experiences into the course work,” says Dr. Robert Prior, Associate Teaching Professor, Master of Sports Leadership Program at Northeastern University.
“We also welcome guest speakers to class and take field trips and tours of facilities in the area to enhance the learning experience.
“We focus on applied learning with faculty who are industry practitioners. Students learn what is relevant to the sports industry and how to apply their learning through assignments and projects that reflect the work done in the field.”
One of the other main benefits of Northeastern’s focus on experiential learning, is student’s ability to grow their network and prove their value to employers directly during their graduate course work. What better way to lay the groundwork for post-graduate employment than by proving you have what it takes.
“We are very fortunate to be located in Boston and to have been able to build relationships with the storied professional teams, colleges, and universities in New England,” says Dr. Prior, the former Director of Media Relations for the Boston Celtics. “They have all been very cooperative in consistently providing our students with internship and employment opportunities.
“Having personally had a wide range of experiences in marketing and public relations in the professional sports and collegiate sectors, I incorporate many examples of work that I have previously done and tailor assignments to mirror work that would be done by industry practitioners.
The Masters in Sports Leadership program at Northeastern University
can be taken 100% online, or from the Northeastern campus in either Boston, Massachusetts or Charlotte, North Carolina. All students will have to fulfill a mandatory 1-week residency either in Boston during July or Charlotte in January, to complete their education.
To learn more visit the Masters in Sports Leadership Program information request page