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Learning by Doing: Sports Management Education Takes the Next Step at the Olympic Games

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What do you remember about your college education?

You indeed may struggle to recall anything that you were required to memorize in those enormous lecture-based classes.

Instead, you likely remember what you did -- maybe you completed an experiment with a lab partner or spent time working with a local charity. And you probably wished that your whole college career was the same.

Our fellow educators worldwide continue to advocate this type of active learning over passive study. Last week, Oxford University released a study demonstrating that such education may even benefit math students as young as elementary schoolers. The key, regardless of the age of the student: Develop reasoning and application, not just rote memorization.

That's what we are trying to bring to sports business education -- real-life experience, active learning and real-word application -- through our Lynn University Sports Experience Series.

Next stop for this series of university classes: The Olympic Games in London.

Students in our "Olympic Games Experience" course -- a class that focuses on sports media relations -- already have completed a portion of their work on our campus in Boca Raton, Florida. They researched athletes from around the world, have compiled stories on the historical venues being used for the London Games, and have written on ways in which the Olympics have impacted the UK's economy.

And their fun has just begun: We head to London on Friday. From the moment that they land, our students will experience everything as will the tens of thousands of journalists who have descended on the UK from around the world. In this extraordinary international environment, our students will come to understand just how big the world is -- and how fast it is shrinking.

Like the rest of our Sports Experience Series, our Olympics class focuses on practical assignments and industry experience, all driven by specific learning outcomes. The object is to find those many "teachable moments," during which students learn, perhaps without even realizing it. Students' comprehension takes place in real time, and we are able to bear witness to the light bulb moments when our students "get it."

In our Sports Experience Series, it already has worked for us in extraordinary ways.

In The National Championship Experience, a class hosted at the NCAA Men's Final Four ©, we focus on sports marketing, with students working with the NCAA, the local organizing committee, and NCAA licensees to witness firsthand how this event impacts the national and local economy.

The Daytona 500 Experience course empowers students to become effective salespeople. Interning with the ticketing office at Daytona International Speedway, students gain sales experience with the industry's best experts.

The Super Bowl© Experience takes a look at the host city's sporting facilities. We make daily visits to all of the surrounding sport venues, and network with the managers who make them go.

Our partnership with ESPN takes us annually to both the Summer X Games and the Winter X Games ©. In this class, students join forces with the operations teams in Los Angeles and Aspen, in paid internships that have the students work set-up to tear-down and everything in between.

Our goal is to fully immerse our students in their chosen field, and expose them to the countless opportunities in the sports industry -- before they graduate. The experience gained in the Sport Experience Series allows students to make informed decisions about their impending careers and empowers them to get a jumpstart while still in school. And all of the course content is delivered in ways that our students can best digest, retain and apply.

"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may learn. Involve me and I will understand." A member of the Lakota Sioux is said to have coined the phrase. As educators, we must continue to live by it.

Follow Prof. Ted Curtis and Dr. Chad Barr on Twitter at @LynnUSportsMgmt and on Facebook at LynnSportsManagement.