Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2022

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Decision Science

Program or Major

Business Administration

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Scott Lemos


This paper looks at the characteristic differences between undergraduate students and working professionals and whether experiential learning or microcredentials are more effective in satisfying the educational needs of either group of learners. The characteristics used to define undergraduate students, working professionals, experiential learning, and microcredentials are choices, needs, motivation, learning style, and self-awareness. Based on these characteristics, the study predicted that experiential learning would better suit the educational needs of undergraduate students and microcredentials would better suit the needs of working professionals. The study’s hypotheses were designed from observations of the Business in Practice program at the University of New Hampshire to support the development of their curriculum. To research the suitability of the educational programs for different learning groups, a focus group and survey were used to gather perspectives. Five undergraduate students enrolled at the Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics were interviewed in a focus group and eleven graduate students enrolled in Paul College’s MBA program responded to a survey. The study found that the differences between undergraduate and graduate students are less contrasted than hypothesized. From the collected responses, it was determined there are limitations to the conclusions that can be drawn. The study was unable to accurately conclude whether experiential learning or microcredentials are more effective at satisfying the learning needs of either learning group. However, insight into how education administrators can improve curriculum for students, how instructors can set goals and benchmarks in classes to motivate students, and details on how to expand the scope of future research were gained. More research with a wider categorization of age groups and what characteristics define learners must be conducted to fully determine the effectiveness of educational programs on different age groups.