Call for Papers – Leveraging the possibilities of ‘learning at scale’: Future proofing business and management education


Leveraging the possibilities of ‘learning at scale’: Future proofing business and management education 

Guest Editors 

Associate Professor Elaine Huber, The University of Sydney Business School, Australia
Associate Professor Lynn Gribble, University of New South Wales Business School, Australia
Associate Professor Yuhui Gao, Dublin City University Business School, Ireland
Associate Professor Imam Baihaqi, Institute of Technology Sepuluh Nopember, Indonesia
Professor Annemette Kjærgaard, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark


Work-applied management methods such as action learning, work-based or problem-based learning can be described as ‘high impact’ learning practices in higher education because they are highly situational and interactive with real workplace environments (Wall, 2017). Such practices are also often highly personalised and customised to the specific needs of organisations and even individuals. Within the higher education context, however, there has been an increasing massification of its provision for more than a decade (Hornsby and Osman 2014), with learners – including work-based learners – continuing to learn in larger and larger cohorts. As institutions and corporate universities battle to deal with rising economical and financial pressures, alongside scarcity of resources, class sizes in many parts of the world have expanded to satisfy these shifting demands. At the same time, there is a widening diversity (Maringe & Sing, 2014) occurring often due to widening access, participation and engagement schemes. This also requires a shift in our thinking about delivery of education to a homogenous group of learners. Even though the dip caused by the pandemic impacted this somewhat, global mobility and internationalisation is steadily becoming the fabric from which many institutions are woven. 

In the quest to prepare learners for an uncertain future and rapidly changing job market, learning providers (educational or corporate providers alike) need to build their knowledge, skills and connections in authentic and contemporary ways which harness the scale of delivery in innovative ways, rather than being burdened by it (Bryant, 2022). Designing learning experiences for a changing world where information (content) is freely accessible and changing demographic whose concentration spans are changing along with increased reliance on the digital (Nicholas, 2020), we need to be cognisant of the learning experience, the varying levels of learner motivation and prior knowledge, as well as the challenges this brings (Hornsby & Osman, 2014; Wilson, Huber & Bryant, 2021).
There are many known learner-centred issues related to large class teaching and learning, be it social isolation and belonging (McEwen, 2021), moves to multiplication and magnification (Bryant, 2022), transactional or didactical deliveries (Kirstein & Kunz, 2015) or inability to integrate interactivity at scale (Petersen et al., 2022). We know that active, collaborative, experiential and applied pedagogies all produce deeper learning (Lee et al, 2021; An and Loes, 2022). Providing learners with opportunities to think critically and apply their knowledge to authentic scenarios such as workplace problems is a common approach taken in smaller tutorial and classes, but how do we purposefully design for these approaches in larger cohorts? Can we innovate within the constraints of large class teaching? (Dean et al., 2017; Grohs et al, 2019). Can quality learning exist in large classes? And if so, how would we identify it?

There are critics of learning as scale (see for example van der Velde et al, 2022). The debate about whether or not the lecture is dead has been raging for a long time (Matthews, 2022) has – in our view – not been subjected to contemporary examination or critique, especially given the rise of innovative teaching and learning approaches – including digital pedagogies – which were rapidly developed during the covid pandemic. For example, how have we implemented interactive, experiential, work-based, problem based – and a whole host of high impact pedagogies – in large class teaching contexts? We know, for example, that global teaching and learning approaches did dramatically change during covid and that some of this remains in place today despite social distancing measures no longer being in force (see for example Leal Filho et al, 2021).

A more significant question is how can we leverage of the power of the crowd for quality learning (Tyrrell & Shalavin, 2022)? Loughlin and Lindberg-Sand (2023) have recently investigated the ‘power’ of the large lecture and found that that ‘students appeared to like them’ when combined with peer-networking. Accordingly Bryant (2023) agrees the large lecture can be ‘inspiring, aspirational and oratorial if, and it’s a big IF, the staff delivering them have the necessary skill set to transform them from being the sage on the stage to something altogether more performative.’ However, he also warns that reading from slides and providing content easily accessible elsewhere is akin to an empty lecture hall.

As we entertain the possibilities of large lecture spaces and places, there are a multitude of questions we are curious about. What does large class teaching look like? Is it a transactional model of content delivery followed by collaborative/active/experiential learning in the small class teaching? If this is the model then how do the multitude of tutors provide a consistent experience for students? Some authors for example are creating a personalised student experience in a large cohort (Liu et al 2022) by leveraging big data sets and technologies. Here, what does the future of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT hold for teaching large classes? At the same time, how do we avoid burnout in large classes – both in terms of managing the learning experience as well as the large teams of tutors and associated administration load? Within large learning scale contexts, how do we create recognition of this in workload models and actively support their development (Hubbard & Tellents, 2020)? Can we harness different teaching styles to support a quality student learning experience in large classes (Tang et al 2022)?

This exciting special issue calls for a deep dive into the current models, experiences and challenges faced by leaders, managers and deliverers of large-scale settings – as well as a serious documentation of the possibilities and opportunities they can provide. This includes preparing business and management learners enrolled on university programmes to enter a work place which is rapidly changing in today’s complex times, as well as preparing workers for high performance in organisational contexts. We are particularly interested in practical case study-based articles that demonstrate quality learning experiences in large business and management learning contexts. We also invite conceptual, empirical and viewpoint pieces.

Possible themes may include (but are not limited) to the following:

  • To what extent can work-applied methods (experiential, work-based, problem-based learning methods), work in a large-scale settings such as university lectures or corporate universities? 
  • What is the future of large-scale business and management learning in higher education or corporate universities?
  • What skills and competencies can be effectively generated through large class learning to the workplace?
  • What learning models or measures of success can we use when we apply work-applied methods to large cohorts?
  • How can we effectively support and develop to facilitate learning in large scale business and management learning contexts?
  • What are our experiences of developing business and management learning in the context of large-scale classes – and what hurdles have to be overcome?
  • What equality, diversity and inclusion strategies are effective (or not so effective) when business and management learning is implemented at scale?
  • What new models of ‘the lecture’ challenge current business and management learning practices?
  • How can personalised or customised learning be implemented in large-scale settings?
  • What large-scale issues are raised (or normalised) in different cultural settings?
  • How does large-scale learning practices connect or clash with higher education or work/welfare policies?

Submission Information

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available at:

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please see: 

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e., in response to “Please select the issue you are submitting to.”

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal.

Key Deadlines

Opening date for manuscripts submissions: 11th April 2023

Closing date for manuscripts submission: 1st February 2024                            

To be published (open access and in print): 2024


An, B. P., & Loes, C. N. (2022). Participation in High-Impact Practices: Considering the Role of Institutional Context and a Person-Centered Approach. Research in Higher Education. Early cite. 
Bryant, P. (2022). Transforming Business Education Through Connected Learning—Part 2. Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group.
Bryant, P. (2023). Chaos and calm in the lecture theatre: Transforming the lecture by creating and sustaining interactivity at scale part 2. Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group.
Dean, T., Lee-Post, A., & Hapke, H. (2017). Universal Design for Learning in Teaching Large Lecture Classes. Journal of Marketing Education, 39(1), 5–16.
Leal Filho W, Price E, Wall T, Shiel C, Azeiteiro UM, Mifsud M, Brandli L, Farinha CS, Caeiro S, Salvia AL, Vasconcelos CR, de Sousa LO, Pace P, Doni F, Avila LV, Fritzen B, LeVasseur TJ. (2021). COVID-19: the impact of a global crisis on sustainable development teaching, Environment, Development and Sustainability: a multidisciplinary approach to the theory and practice of sustainable development, 23 :11257-11278.
Grohs, J., Young, G., Soledad, M., & Knight, D. (2019). Leveraging local data for reflective teaching in large classes. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 56(3), 341–351.
Hornsby, D. J., & Osman, R. (2014). Massification in higher education: Large classes and student learning. Higher Education, 67(6), 711–719.
Hubbard, K., & Tallents, L. (2020). Challenging, Exciting, Impersonal, Nervous: Academic experiences of large class teaching. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, 8(1), 59–73.
Kirstein, M., & Kunz, R. (2015). Student-centred approach to teaching large classes: Friend or foe? Meditari Accountancy Research, 23(2), 222–246.
Lee, L., Wilkum, K., Immel, K. R., & Fischer, A. E. (2021). A Taxonomy for Designing and Evaluating High-Impact Practice Experiences. College Teaching, 69(4), 191–201.
Liu, M., Zhu, Y., Li, L., & Zhang, Z. (2022). The Big Data Course Research and Practice of “Four-in-One” Driven Personalized Tutoring in Large Class Teaching. 171–176.
Loughlin, C., & Lindberg-Sand, Å. (2023). The use of lectures: Effective pedagogy or seeds scattered on the wind? Higher Education, 85(2), 283–299.
Maringe, F., & Sing, N. (2014). Teaching large classes in an increasingly internationalising higher education environment: Pedagogical, quality and equity issues. Higher Education, 67(6), 761–782.
Matthews, A. (2022) Death of the Lecture(r)? Postdigital Science Education, 4, 253–258.
Nicholas, A. (2020). Preferred Learning Methods of Generation Z. Faculty and Staff  - Articles & Papers, 74.
Petersen, S., Brock, A., Huber, E., & Bryant, P. (2022). At Scale Immersive Learning “Events.” Disruptive Innovations in Business Education Research Group.
Tang, C. W., Jun Shi, M., & de Guzman, A. B. (2022). Lecturer teaching styles and student learning involvement in large classes: A Taiwan case study. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 42(3), 447–463. 
Tyrrell, J., & Shalavin, C. (2022). A Sociomaterial Lens on Crowdsourcing for Learning. Postdigital Science and Education, 4(3), 729–752.
van der Velde, R., Blignaut-van Westrhenen, N., Labrie, N. H. M., & Zweekhorst, M. B. M. (2021). ‘The idea is nice… but not for me’: First-year students’ readiness for large-scale ‘flipped lectures’—what (de)motivates them? Higher Education, 81(6), 1157–1175. 
Wall, T. (2017), A manifesto for higher education, skills and work-based learning: Through the lens of the Manifesto for Work, Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, 7 (3) pp. 304-314.
Wilson, S., Huber, E., & Bryant, P. (2021). Using co-design processes to support strategic pedagogical change in business education. In Handbook of Teaching and Learning at Business Schools (pp. 20–35). Edward Elgar Publishing.


This special issue was inspired by the Going Global Partnerships work of The Digi:Doi Consortium.

The Digi:Doi Consortium is supported by a UK-Viet Nam Partnerships for Quality and Internationalisation grant from the British Council. The UK-Viet Nam Partnerships for Quality and Internationalisation grants support capacity building, knowledge exchange and collaboration activities between UK and Viet Nam higher education sector at system and institution level in Digital Transformation.

UK-Viet Nam Partnerships for Quality and Internationalisation is part of a wider British Council programme called Going Global Partnerships, which builds stronger, more inclusive, internationally connected higher education and TVET systems.