Fostering an Entrepreneurial Team Based Learning Environment

Tony Blackwood, Lucy Hatt, Lee Pugalis, Anna Round

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Abstract

Objectives – The purpose of this paper is to present some findings from a study exploring the introduction of an innovative experiential team based learning model in an entrepreneurial setting. Prior Work – This model was introduced at Newcastle Business School in September 2013 with a new programme intended to stimulate a flexible, experiential approach to entrepreneurial learning. It differs from extant educational programmes by placing greater emphasis on participants taking full responsibility for their own learning. Approach – Narrative interviews were conducted with students from the first cohort to study on the programme, at the end of their first year. The paper reports on emergent findings from a larger longitudinal project exploring the enterprising trajectories, and entrepreneurial challenges and experiences of teampreneur participants. Results – Conceptualisations of learning are complex and nuanced, whereby participants invoked a variety of terms to describe their learning. The learning model appears to have had a positive impact on the progress of the participants through various ‘learning stages’, and several appeared to have gained a degree of ‘intellectual independence’ at an surprisingly early stage in their undergraduate career. All considered that they ‘think differently’ as a result of the programme, although applications of learning were understood and described in different ways. Findings suggest that team based experiential modes of entrepreneurial learning may be better equipped at catering to the needs of learners that are often perceived to rebel (and thus underperform) within the structures of formal learning spaces and traditional teaching methods. Implications – The team based learning model responds to shifting economic dynamics, including changing labour market conditions, employment prospects and economic skillsets. It is in this sense that governments around the world are seeking to foster more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial behaviour. The experiential approach examined goes some way towards addressing these needs by equipping learners to rise to these challenges, through developing their capacity for sustained learning in the context of their working environment. It provides some illuminating insights that could, potentially, influence policy decisions and, possibly, fundamentally reconfigure dominant modes of education. Value – The research is original and, potentially, significant as it reflects on a journey towards an innovative, experiential learning model whose promise is attractive. The practical findings will be especially relevant to other institutions that are currently preparing to adopt this mode of learning, as well as others that may consider adopting this approach in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2014
EventInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference - Manchester
Duration: 6 Nov 2014 → …
http://www.isbe.org.uk/ISBE-2014-Conference

Conference

ConferenceInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) Conference
Period6/11/14 → …
Internet address

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