Constructive Misalignment? Learning outcomes and effectiveness in teamwork-based experiential entrepreneurship education assessment

Jonathan Scott, John L. Thompson, Andy Penaluna

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Objectives - Despite extensive research on experiential entrepreneurship education (EEE), we know little about how these approaches contribute towards effective achievement of learning outcomes (LOs), particularly in terms of opportunity discovery and exploitation. We critically appraised how experiential approaches enhance the achievement of learning outcomes (LOs) in teamwork-based entrepreneurship education assessment. Prior Work - Extant EEE research tends to focus upon “good practice”, rather than establishing its impact upon students. The argument for experiential approaches is two-fold but with a missing third fold (Scott et al, 2016): (1) ‘Traditional’ programmes, which rely upon lectures or other directed, non-experiential approaches to entrepreneurship education, are not effectively achieving their objectives, or these objectives are not ambitious enough to achieve effective outcomes; (2) Experiential approaches are an interactive, participative, realistic, viable and potentially more effective alternative to these ‘traditional’ approaches and include, for example, simulation etc; and (3) There is a lack of evidence on their effectiveness, though with some relatively recent exceptions, alongside a continuing debate about whether entrepreneurship can even be taught. Approach - We adopted an exploratory qualitative analysis of reflective diaries to achieve our objectives. Data were gathered from a purposive and convenience sample of reflective diaries, an individual assessment element of three Masters-level modules (modules 1, 2 and 3), in which there are also group business ideas generation presentations and a report. We subjected the text to rigorous content analysis (Silverman, 2004, 2010; Eriksson and Kovalainen, 2008; Curtis and Curtis, 2011), which often adds a positivistic epistemological flavour to qualitative research, and our text was partially quantified to enable in-depth qualitative analysis. Results - Our analysis of student reflective diaries revealed that, while a number of LOs were met in relation to teamwork and communication, those related to innovation (i.e. generating a business idea) were much more modest. Yet, students experienced negative aspects which have become learning opportunities, such as linguistic-cultural challenges and overcoming nonparticipation/freeriding. Although Biggs (2003) has argued the need for constructive alignment in course design, in fact some of these unexpected LOs suggest the possibility that constructive misalignment could, in certain circumstances (e.g. experiential entrepreneurship education), be a positive pedagogical outcome. Implications and Value - There is, however, still little evidence that EEE is more effective than other approaches that have traditionally been adopted.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes
Event38th Annual Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference 2015 - Glasgow
Duration: 1 Nov 2015 → …


Conference38th Annual Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Conference 2015
Period1/11/15 → …
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