Bridging the gap between theory and practice in accountancy education in the Netherlands through experiential learning.

  • Marieke Alkema

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Accountancy has received some critiques about their performance. As the amount of new accountants is declining, improvement of the accountancy education is desirable, with special regard to the integration of theory and practice.
In this study, Experiential Learning is used as a model to improve integration between theory and practice, as more Experiential Learning is linked to better learning outcomes. The mARC model from Radović, et al. (2020b) was used to investigate how to implement Experiential Learning by stimulating Authenticity, Reflection and Collaboration.
The research consisted of two parts, comprising a survey and interviews to let the students explain their answers. For the interviews, the lowest scoring item of each subscale was used. Through principle component analysis subscales were formed and these subscales were analysed using Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient.
The survey and the interviews indicate that students of accountancy education agree that the programme has Authenticity, although some subjects are taught too in-depth to be useful. Students have indicated that Reflection is present, although it is more geared towards the assignment, not towards the knowledge and insights of the student. Collaboration is hardly present in the programme, as students usually work individually.
The two subscales of Authenticity relate to each other. The same is true for the subscales of Collaboration, which all relate to each other. However, not all subscales of Reflection relate to the other subscales. The subscales of Authenticity and Collaboration were related. Reflection does not relate to Authenticity and only some subscales of Reflection relate to some subscales of Collaboration. Within the three pillars Authenticity, Reflection and Collaboration, the subscales were related with the Experiential Learning scale, although two of the subscales of Reflection do not have a relation to one or two of the subscales of Experiential Learning.
A limitation of this study is the small amount of respondents, so some caution with generalisations of the quantitative findings is required. There are some practical implications that can be drawn. It is expected that more emphasizing of the pillars of Experiential Learning improves the integration of theory and practice and the learning outcomes of the students. To improve the amount of Authenticity in the programme, less in-depth information could be taught. As the current programme stimulates lower levels more than higher levels of Reflection, the stimulation of higher levels of Reflection may also improve the learning outcomes. Finally a larger amount of Collaboration may improve learning outcomes as well.
Date of Award27 Jan 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMarjan Vermeulen (Supervisor)


  • Accountancy Education
  • Experiential Learning
  • Authenticity
  • Reflection
  • collaboration

Master's Degree

  • Master Onderwijswetenschappen

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