Although many attempts have been made to clarify how academic knowledge can be used in practice, there are not many empirical results that shed light on the process of developing academic knowledge from practical experience. The aim of this study is to examine to what extent an authentic learning environment supports master students in both processes of re and de-contextualisation. We used a qualitative and quantitative research method to evaluate the impact of learning environments that differed on the level of authenticity (less and more authentic). Participants described both learning environments as being instructive and realistic. We found strong correlations between motivation for learning, perception of authenticity and perception of experiential learning. Results suggest that more authenticity seems to 1) facilitate experiential learning, and 2) strengthen the ties between theory and practical learning experience. Additional implications for including reflective and collaborative elements to further support learning are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalStudies in Higher Education
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2020


  • Authenticity
  • de-contextualisation
  • experiential learning
  • higher education
  • re-contextualisation

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