Re-engaging Students returning from International Placements: An Integrative Learning Approach

Kieran Conroy, Paul Joseph-Richard

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The purpose of this study is to explore how placement students can be effectively re-engaged in their academic studies after a year-long industry placement. Inspired by Barber’s (2012) theory of integrative learning, we designed and delivered a final year undergraduate module on an International Business (IB) degree. Using multi-qualitative methods, we collected data to explore which teaching practices helped students (n=44) re-engage effectively with their studies. Our analysis reveals that when particular teaching practices are intentionally deployed to promote connection, application, and synthesis, they have the power to enable returning students to integrate learning across contexts. We illuminate a set of integration-promoting practices which proved successful in enhancing the re-engagement experience of international placement students. We argue that the often-overlooked group of students who return from international placements, need to be recognised as a distinct set of learners who are confronted with unique re-engagement challenges. Our paper offers insights into how IB educators might best support learning integration for students returning from international placements in business school settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-50
JournalJournal of International Business Education
Early online date31 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 31 Jan 2022


  • Re-engagement
  • Theory of integration of learning
  • International Business students
  • returning placement students
  • undergraduates


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