A Study of Teaching Methods in Entrepreneurship Education for Graduate Students

Article excerpt

Abstract

As stated in numerous studies, entrepreneurship education is becoming more and more important everywhere in the world and research in entrepreneurship are growing and getting legitimacy in the scientific communities, however a few scholars have focused on the subfield of entrepreneurship education. Although the key to a successful entrepreneurship education is to find the most effective way to manage the teachable skills and identify the best match between student needs and teaching techniques, there is no universal pedagogical recipe to teach entrepreneurship and the choice of techniques and modalities depends mainly on the objectives, contents and constraints imposed by the institutional context.

Education programs in entrepreneurship are a new phenomenon in Iran. These programs vary widely in terms of short term objectives, target audiences, format and pedagogical approach. The first M.Sc. entrepreneurship management program has been initiated in the University of Tehran in 2005. One of the basic courses in this entrepreneurship curriculum is "business planning". This paper attempts to identify the appropriate teaching methods in this course conducting two qualitative studies by semi-structured interviews. Results of the first study on a sample of experts in teaching methods complete the list of teaching methods that could be used in entrepreneurship education. The results of second study on a sample of lecturers of "business planning" course show that appropriate teaching methods of this course are respectively group project, case study, individual project, development of a new venture creation project, and problem-solving. Furthermore, in this study, the appropriate teaching methods in each component of this course have been presented.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship education, Teaching methods, M.Sc. students, Business planning

1. Introduction

The last decade has witnessed the powerful emergence of entrepreneurship research worldwide. There seems to be widespread recognition that entrepreneurship is the engine driving the economy and society of most nations (Alberti et al, 2004). Nowadays both scholars and policy makers are becoming aware of the importance of the educational system for entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship education has different short term and long term results in the society (Hannon et al. 2006).

Most entrepreneurship education programs present different objectives. These may be specific and immediately measurable objectives as well as more general and complex ones. Through the identification of various objectives of entrepreneurship education, we might have a deeper understanding of educational needs as well as a more weighted choice of evaluative criteria and pedagogical techniques (Alberti et al, 2004).

Rae and Carswell (2001) and Shepherd and Douglas (1997) have discussed that there is a distinction between the teachable and the non-teachable elements of entrepreneurship. The key to a successful entrepreneurship education is to find the most effective way to manage the teachable skills and identify the best match between student needs and teaching techniques (Lee et al, 2007).

In Iran, the master entrepreneurship program initiated in university of Tehran in 2005 and the first faculty of entrepreneurship was founded in 2007. On the other hand, an optional course of "fundamental of entrepreneurship" was included in the curriculum for non-business students in university of Tehran and many other universities in Iran. "Business plan" is one of the key courses in the entrepreneurship education program in the faculty of entrepreneurship in University of Tehran. This is one of the rare studies in the subfield of entrepreneurship education and focuses on the analysis of teaching methods of "business plan" course. This paper has been structured in five parts. A review of the literature on entrepreneurship education and specifically on teaching methods in entrepreneurship education as well as teaching methods in "business plan" course has been presented in the second section. …