Experiential Learning for Circular Operations Management in Higher Education

David Ernesto Salinas-Navarro, Claudia Yohana Arias-Portela, José Rubén González de la Cruz, Eliseo Vilalta-Perdomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research-to-practice article delves into novel learning experiences for operations management education, involving the circular economy and experiential learning. Higher Education academics are required to develop effective learning that actively and impactfully helps nurture in students the essential competency to face sustainable development demands. In operations management education, one possibility is to integrate real-world circular economy challenges into learning activities that address issues concerning solid waste generation in business processes and operations. This type of innovative learning experience involves both conceptual understanding and practical implementation. Accordingly, experiential learning is considered a suitable pedagogy for this purpose in this work because of its hands-on applications, critical thinking, and active engagement. To illustrate this proposition, this paper presents a case study concerning an operations management undergraduate course at a Mexican university. The case study indicates how to translate a situation of solid waste generation in a business into relevant disciplinary experiential learning. The results show that students regarded the learning experience as motivating, interesting, and relevant while widely accomplishing their learning objectives. However, limitations did exist regarding experiential learning, the methodological approach, data collection, and implementation challenges. Future work points to the need for further learning experiences and to improve research reliability, transferability, and validity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number798
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 by the authors.
Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
This article is an open access article
distributed under the terms and
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  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • circular economy
  • educational innovation
  • engineering education
  • experiential learning
  • higher education
  • operations management
  • sustainability


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