June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
As entrepreneurship education has moved from traditional business schools into engineering programs, instruction itself has transformed from traditional approaches disseminating business content to more practice-oriented approaches targeting students’ professional development. Particularly, entrepreneurship training has been included in undergraduate engineering education to instill domain-general skills (such as innovativeness, creativity and communication) needed to meet the demands of competitive global market. In addition to technical knowledge, engineering students should also demonstrate the ability to identify new venture opportunities, commercialize technologies, and exhibit an understanding of market operations. Entrepreneurship education focuses on instilling these skills by exposing students to business content and entrepreneurial practice through engagement in project-based courses, pitch competitions and providing opportunities to interact with practicing entrepreneurs.
Over the last several years, many undergraduate engineering programs have incorporated entrepreneurship education into their curricula through formal coursework and other informal co-curricular programs. Although it is imperative to evaluate these programs to better inform entrepreneurship education practices, minimal attention has been devoted to assessment of entrepreneurship education programs. Furthermore, of the few existing studies, most have examined students’ perceptions of learning gains and affective responses such as entrepreneurial self-efficacy, mindset and attitude. In this study, we present an examination of students’ actual learning in an entrepreneurship practicum course at large research university. The course leverages widely used Lean Launch Curriculum and Business Model Canvas (BMC) to engage students in entrepreneurship in a project-based learning environment. In contrast with prior work that has primarily relied on students’ self-assessment of learning gains, we evaluated students’ entrepreneurial knowledge using pre/post open-ended surveys with questions examining students’ approaches to starting a new venture at different phases of development. Our findings provide evidence supporting the anticipated positive change in student learning outcomes, indicating that the students were able to understand and internalize the BMC concepts they were exposed to in the course.
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