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A Scalable Problem Based Learning System For Entrepreneurship Education

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Course-based Approaches to Entrepreneurship Education

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.115.1 - 11.115.22



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Paper Authors

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Anthony Warren Pennsylvania State University

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Ralph Hanke Bowling Green University

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Elizabeth Kisenwether Pennsylvania State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Scalable Problem-Based Learning (PBL) System for Entrepreneurship Education

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Entrepreneurship skills are vital to the future of the US economy and its ability to support continual wealth creation. Traditional educational methods do not teach such skills; indeed they may hinder them. The initiative described creates a new way to provide a valuable entrepreneurial learning experience to a large number of students at all levels. This can only be achieved by developing a “scalable” model to reduce teacher load in course creation and management, and student interaction. This paper describes a pilot experiment at State University, the first of a four stage plan to make entrepreneurship education available to the majority of students in the US.

To date 135 students developed entrepreneurial skills at State University using a unique problem based learning (PBL) approach with all course materials and grading managed on-line. The results of the pilot indicate that a problem based, on-line approach to learn entrepreneurship is viable with significant upside potential. Surprisingly, it was just as difficult for the faculty to get out of the traditional “teaching mode” as it was for the students to get out of the “passive learning” mode. Nevertheless, the students’ final projects and presentations suggest that the learning experience succeeded and students developed a realistic understanding of what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Further, the experience resulted in a plan of improvements to the method, three of them key. First, given the natural ambiguity of PBL to develop entrepreneurial skills, it is imperative that structural aspects of the course are as unambiguous as possible. Second, the grading and support structure of the course need to reward student self-sufficiency. Third, in-class activities must be structured so that teams are forced to be fully prepared for each session so that facilitators are not tempted to regress to “chalk and talk” style.

1: INTRODUCTION This paper reports on a pilot, cross-college course that is the first step in a multi-year program designed to expand entrepreneurship learning for all interested students in the State University


Warren, A., & Hanke, R., & Kisenwether, E. (2006, June), A Scalable Problem Based Learning System For Entrepreneurship Education Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--559

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