Experiential learning and student reflective journals in conflict studies courses

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


The article discusses how experiential learning can be integrated in the study of conflict and conflict transformation. Specifically, we explore the following questions: do experiential learning activities make a difference to what students learn? Does participation in field visits create inequalities in the class between those that attend and those that do not? What are the potentials and limits of reflective journals is assessing student learning? To reflect on these issues we draw on the experience of teaching a course on post-Soviet conflicts which included a one-week field visit to the South Caucasus. Drawing from various types of evidence, including course evaluations, individual grades, reflective journals and separate student feedback, the article concludes that experiential learning in the form of study visits provides a transformative learning experience as well as enables students to acquire additional skills which, it is hoped, will serve students long after they have completed the course. Furthermore, they represent useful learning tools for both students that participate and those that remain at the home institution. Lastly, the article calls for greater consideration to be paid to student journals as a form of assessment of active learning.
Period28 Aug 20191 Sept 2019
Held atAmerican Political Science Association
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • teaching and learning
  • study visit
  • conflict studies
  • active learning
  • Caucasus
  • Georgia
  • Abkhazia