Study Visits: Introducing Your Students to Real Contexts

Does exposing students to the real context of a company, organisation or project provide added value? Then take the students on a study visit 

What is a Study Visit? 

On a study visit, you take your students to a company, an organisation, an institution, a museum, etc. You can either guide the tour yourself or ask a guide or one of the on-site professionals to do it. 

A study visit is a way to: 

  • learn about a specific organisation or phenomenon;  
  • see a real-life application of a theoretical part of your course unit. This is often very motivating for students; 
  • practice skills such as listening, observing, reporting, etc. 

A study visit may enable you to combine and integrate content and competencies fromd different course unit.  

Study Visit: Points to Consider 

Not Just a Fun Outing  

Ideally, a study visit is an activity that inspires students. And, of course, it may proceed in a less structured way than an actual lecture. Make sure, however, that the study visit is not just a fun outing. Clearly explain in advance (1) the way in which the study visit aligns with the context of other teaching methods, and (2) what the trip's objectives are. 

Clear Arrangements 

Make clear practical arrangements with the students and clearly explain what you expect of them during the visit. Do you want them to listen to you while you teach on site? Do you want them to autonomously observe different teams in a company? Do you want them to take notes of specific content or reflections?

Combine with an Assignment 

Give the students a specific assignment in advance to better focus their attention during the study visit. You can also ask the students to write a reflection report.  

Discuss Afterwards

Plan a post-visit analysis, either immediately after the study visit is over, or during the next class. Think of it as a learning opportunity for your students, as well as for you about the study visit's content and organisation. 

Study Visits: Practical Examples  

In the course unit 'Introduction to the Circular Economy' (Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design Engineering Technology and Bachelor of Science in Bioindustrial Sciences), the students go on two study visits. Both are company visits that provide an application of specific theoretical parts of the course unit.   

The students are required to write a report (max. 3 pages), including answers to the following questions: 

  • what processes of circular economy did you observe? 
  • what is the industrial ecology idea behind the company's concept? 
  • what specific elements at this company are circular and sustainable? 
  • in your opinion, what improvements could be made to the business process? 

Want to Know More?  

  • Milus, J., Oost, H. en Holleman, W. (2001). Werken aan Academische vorming. Ideeën voor actief leren in de onderwijspraktijk. Universiteit Utrecht 
  • Standaert, R., Troch, F., Peeters, I., & Stroobants, I. (2012). Leren en onderwijzen. Inleiding tot de algemene didactiek. Acco. 

UGent Practices

Last modified Jan. 13, 2021, 10:52 a.m.