Enhance students’ learning experience by providing current and relevant examples of the practical applications of theory students are learning in a particular subject

The pedagogical strategy of using guest lectures at the DHBW in all study programmes can be classified as substituting for experiential learning and related to a vicarious apprenticeship model of learning of the dual system in PHE. In essence this method of teaching provides the students with an understanding of professional activity by providing a ‘real-life picture’ of theory and in classroom teaching.

 Using guest lecturers in the institution, three main goals for inviting them are important:

  • Ensure that students will get an understanding of real-world practical knowledge
  • Ensure that students will identify new practical facts related to their professional orientation, and
  • Enable faculty and study programme managers to get exposed to real-world practices and trends and to enable professors integrating new knowledge into their courses.

This kind of collaboration is keeping teaching staff and programme managers at the instit

utions up-to-date with the latest technologies and changes by using guest speakers also in professional development.

The guest speaker approach is contributing to a successful authentic learning approach in on-campus learning by enabling students to be introduced to best practices and lessons learned from experience.

The collaboration is also beneficial for the companies.

Companies also see Work-Based Learning ,as an opportunity to display good corporate social responsibility behaviour, as well as exposure for their company, input into teaching content and practices, access to good graduates and access to research opportunities with academics.

The programme manager for each course is responsible for communication with the guest lecturer/s to make arrangements to determine appropriate content for the lecture, plus other details such as scheduling of the lecture.  The lecturer is also expected to discuss graduate opportunities and potential research, as well as gaining opinions on course content, design and assessment tasks with the guest lecturer.

A relationship is built with the company through the dual partnership programme with the DHBW.

Planning for an effective guest speaker event requires consideration of several issues by the course lecturer / programme managers.

Some of these issues are: the procedure for guest speaker selection, the preparation of the guest speaker and the students for the guest speaker event, the relationship between the course objectives and the guest speakers’ experiences, the teaching strategy to be used by the guest speaker and the delivery mode of the guest speaker.

The guest speaker events have to be closely related to course objectives and be well planned and prepared. For example, the effectiveness of linking academic courses and curriculum with work-based /practical training performed by the guest speaker to allow students to have a more grounded understanding of what scientists do and have a better understanding of the real world applications of what they are learning.

Transferring guest lecturer knowledge is an alternative to the institutional lectures covering a syllabus. Guest lectures, if managed well, can teach topics not covered at all by the lecturers in the course. They will share knowledge about an interesting “practical” topic that falls outside the scope of the syllabus and the textbooks.

The guest lecturer’s course goals should provide a clear setting of the expectations for the students. Programme Managers can actively moderate the discussion about the guest lecturer presentation with the students after the speaker departs to ensure that the conversation stays on target and the speaker’s contributions are contextualized with learning objectives.

The program manager at the DHBW is responsible for 1) contracting the guest lecturer for the course; 2) undertaking final assessment to obtain feedback from students regarding learning outcomes from and satisfaction with guest lectures; and 3) undertaking research to obtain feedback from lecturers and companies on their involvement with the program.

In the assessment of guest lecturers students indicate that they experience the following benefits from the use of guest lecturers from public practice:

  • Exposure to practical examples and/or the experience of the auditor at the audit client, to which students would not otherwise have been exposed.
  • Provide an opportunity to engage with professionals from outside the university and potential future employers, and facilitated contact with the “real-world” and the working environment of which they would one day form part.
  • Increase understanding of the topic.
  • Improve attitude towards the accounting profession.

Guest lecturers are contracted at the DHBW for one course. In case of poor performances and regular negative assessment from students, the programme manager can investigate the course deliverables or decide to replace the lecturer. A process which is not possible with institutional staff and lecturers.

More often students express their desire to have more time to engage with the individual guest speakers and, in particular, to have time to ask more questions of the speakers as well as to engage in discussion about the rest of the course materials with the speakers.

Additional information:

“Recognising that theory is of value only if it can be applied, academics must envision the world beyond the classroom and prepare students to compete in a market-driven world”

(Sutliff, 2000, p.1).

More Information


What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?

Dual-study programmes are built upon effective links between education providers and employers. These programmes require stable long-term cooperation to make sure that the curriculum is closely connected to the job while meeting all academic standards. Both parties need to negotiate to award students a double qualification for the two integral parts of the programme; a higher education certificate and a certification of practical training or work experience in a company. Effective agreements can allow for a symbiotic correlation of academic and vocational content in the curriculum. At the DHBW more than 9000 guest lecturers from the industry are engaged in teaching in the courses.

Success Factors

What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?

Guest lectures from the affiliated partners, often holding management positions in the companies for years, can provide an ongoing practical knowledge stream and an educational option that provides more practical outcomes and potentially results in up-to-date work-based knowledge.


What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?

A significant inhibiting factor in the development of dual study programmes is the lack of understanding of the educational mode in non-German speaking countries and differing legal frameworks in place across countries as well as within countries. Given the lack of state recognition and a general lack of understanding about dual study programmes, few common frameworks exist that govern these programmes. This means that the programmes can be difficult to compare, assess or accredit. The role of the guest lecturer from the partnering company is a key element in the exchange of knowledge and transfer of practical expertise, allowing the student to compare theory with practice throughout the study programme. The substantial differences in the culture of the HEI and business environments are well recognised, causing differences in expectations. However this is seen as an advantage for studentes, enabling them to look into a subject from two varying perspectives.

Feasibility & Sustainability

What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?

The engagement of both the HEI and vocational educational streams through programe managers /professors and guest lecturers is challenging since the two education sectors have traditionally been characterised by different curricular goals and teaching principles. HEIs supporting staff is needed for a proper organisation and integration of experts into the topics of the courses.

Replicability & Upscaling

What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?

The need for both industry and HEIs to possess an understanding of the existence, structure and functionality of dual study programmes is a basic, but underestimated facilitator of the proliferation of dual study programmes. Whilst the model is known primarily in German-speaking nations, the adaption of this model of education is limited elsewhere owing to this lack of understanding or a highbrow negative association already in existence for such a model. Moreover, a further key facilitator is the provision for dual study programmes within the state educational framework and consideration for this type of programme in accreditation programmes. Without the consideration that it is a collaborative approach where both parties invest, dual study programmes cannot achieve the dual aim of academic and practical learning or cannot exist at all.

Lessons learned

What would have facilitated an earlier and/or bigger impact? What are the key features that should be kept in mind if this would have to be implemented again? What would you do differently if you could go back in time? What could have been done better?

The type of guest-lecturing and non-traditional pedagogical strategy of teaching with experts, experiential and business related exercises has been shown to be very effective with DHBW students. 50% of the total lecturing time is performed by guest lectures and experts in their filed, ensuring update knowledge transfer from the world of work.