American Sociological Association

The Bourgeoisie Dream Factory

Effectively teaching sociological theories to undergraduate students is challenging. Students often enroll in theory courses due to major requirements, not personal interest. Consequently, many students approach the study of theory with anxiety. This study examined the effectiveness of an experiential learning activity designed to teach Karl Marx’s theory of alienation. Based on pretest/posttest surveys, responses to open-ended questions, and observational data, students reported that the activity helped them gain a clearer understanding of Marx. They also reported finding the activity interesting, enjoying being able to apply theory, and being able to see how Marx’s theory related to real life. Assessment data revealed that students were confident in demonstrating their understanding of Marx’s theories on assignments but not always effective in doing so. The findings contribute to literature on active and experiential learning techniques as successful methods for teaching abstract sociological concepts.


Elroi J. Windsor and Alana M. Carroll





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