Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin: Your Context influences Your Future - Are We Working with our Context in Entrepreneurship Education?
Paper in proceedings, 2017
Questions we care about:
Context matters! Barab and Plucker (2002) raise the question: Smart People or Smart Contexts? In continuation hereof, entrepreneurship educators may ask, what is most important: entrepreneurial people or entrepreneurial contexts? This further inspires the question: is learning achieved because the individual is interested in or predisposed to learning, or because the learning context is “rich” in offering support during the learning process and providing superior learning opportunities? Gartner (1995) notes that observers tend to underestimate the influence of context and overestimate the influence of individual factors in relation to entrepreneurial behavior. Welter (2011) adds that the context of entrepreneurship can either limit or amplify the opportunities and challenges for an entrepreneur. Further, Baumol (1990) emphasizes that the context in terms of where and when has a large influence on entrepreneurship, but the where and when can be examined on many levels and also includes the additional questions of who and how. These concerns are however, rarely evident in relation to context in the entrepreneurship educational literature.
Therefore, we care about the following questions:
1: What constitutes context in entrepreneurship education?
2: How do we as educators make sense of context?
3: How can we as educational designers actively use contextual elements to promote entrepreneurial action?
This paper explores the different concepts of context described in the entrepreneurship literature through a review addressing if and how these concepts are invoked in entrepreneurship education. The purpose is to (a) to identify potential knowledge gaps between the entrepreneurial experience, as addressed in general entrepreneurship literature, (b) derive a conceptual model of context for entrepreneurship education and (c) to assist educators in promoting entrepreneurial action through experiential learning to inspire and prepare students for entrepreneurial practice.
The preliminary findings show that context is recognized as an important factor in relation to entrepreneurship research (Welter, 2011), research in entrepreneurship education (Blenker et al., 2014, Pittaway and Cope, 2007, Rideout and Gray, 2013) and implicit or explicit in relation to the practice of entrepreneurship education (Mwasalwiba, 2010, Nabi et al., 2016, Sirelkhatim and Gangi, 2015). However, little has been transferred into research of how educators and educational designers can actively work with their context.
With this study, we are introducing context as a design parameter for entrepreneurship educators. Nonetheless, there are still a number of unanswered questions in relation educational design and the influence and importance of context in relation entrepreneurship education. We are developing a model to support entrepreneurship educators in using their context consciously and actively in the design and deployment of their education to achieve a better learning environment for their students.