Framing Undergraduate Perspectives on Experiential Learning Within Soka Education Theory

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Paul Sherman, University of Guelph-Humber, Canada
Olivia Boukydis, University of Guelph-Humber, Canada
Published: September 11, 2020

Citation: Sherman, P., & Boukydis, O. (2020). Framing Undergraduate Perspectives on Experiential Learning Within Soka Education Theory IAFOR Journal of Education: Undergraduate Education, 8(3).


This article reports findings on two studies that explored undergraduate perspectives of experiential learning as a pedagogy that can produce impactful outcomes that align with Makiguchi’s concept of Soka (value-creating) education. The twin studies examined perspectives of undergraduate faculty and students by investigating how experiential learning is viewed in terms of its impact on students’ sense of happiness and satisfaction, acquired knowledge and skills, and potential for positively contributing to societal welfare. The article addresses how experiential learning provides critical opportunities for students to create value for making significant impact on the wellbeing of both the students and the wider society. Ten instructors and twelve students from a small university in Toronto, Canada, answered a series of identical questions in confidential semi-structured interviews. The data were analyzed for themes related to Makiguchi’s values of beauty, gain, and good. A key finding from the analysis suggests that instructors and students agree on the primary importance that experiential learning holds for the value of personal gain (among other things knowledge and skill acquisition), while the values of beauty and social good were seen to be important, but of lesser significance. It is noted that while certain limitations to the research exist, nevertheless, it is suggested that incorporating value creating principles within undergraduate course learning objectives may provide opportunities for encouraging more transformative reflection and action for learners, not only in the pursuit of their own individual happiness, but also for the broader societal contex.


experiential learning, Soka education, value-creating