Questions we care about: Experiential entrepreneurship education (EEE) is offered to an increasing spectrum of students, with a growing need to cater to more and more diverse backgrounds. While this provides opportunity for universities to contribute to entrepreneurial competences among graduates, the teaching format associated with EEE interventions poses many challenges for the learner. The nature of these challenges and how they relate to students’ learning processes in EEE is not well-known. Accordingly, the paper poses the following questions: What challenges do students face in transitioning into EEE? How do these challenges relate to students’ process of developing an understanding of how to take on learning in EEE?
Approach: The paper draws on social cognitive theory and previous work on learning in constructivist learning environments to propose a framework for studying students’ transition into EEE as a process of (re-)constructing their expectations on curricular learning from entrepreneurial experience. Further, the dynamics of such a process is investigated through a qualitative case study of a project-based course in which students worked in teams towards generating, developing and validating business ideas through real customer interaction. Data was collected mainly through reflective assignments and retrospective interviews, and analyzed through a general inductive approach.
Results: Four critical learning cycles relating to perceived challenges was identified as students starting to engage in the course: coming up with an idea, engaging externals actors, pivoting and managing openness. These challenges seemed to be overcome as students gained new experience, re-shaping their expectations of the nature and purpose of such activities.
Implications: Acknowledging students’ transition into EEE as a dual process of re-shaping students’ ways of organizing their competences in relation to entrepreneurial processes and curricular activities opens for further investigations into the nature of challenges and learning processes when new students are coming into EEE. Moreover, the study highlights how scaffolded integration of entrepreneurial experience into curricular activities can challenge students’ habitual roles and certain pre-conceptions of entrepreneurial processes.
Value/Originality: Through investigating challenges as students starts to engage in EEE, the study contributes to unveiling the dynamics of transitioning into such learning environments.
Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, Entrepreneurship and strategy
Innovation och entreprenörskap