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Paper: Efficacy of teaching entrepreneurial mindset using a game-like activity

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2021 First-Year Engineering Experience



Publication Date

August 9, 2021

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August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

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Anoop Singh Grewal Arizona State University

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Anoop Grewal ( is a lecturer at Arizona State University in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of engineering since 2014. He received his doctorate in Mechanical and Aerospace engineering (in the field of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics) from Cornell University. His research background is in robotics but his passion lies in engineering education. At ASU he is part of the instructional team for “Introduction to Engineering”, a multidisciplinary project based course. He also teaches various mechanical engineering courses e.g. Engineering Mechanics, System Dynamics and Controls. His teaching philosophy is to promote instinctive/inherent understanding of engineering concepts, and productive student-faculty interactions.

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We developed, 'Thank you for your service' (TY4YS) a web-browser based, game-like activity as a way to introduce or reinforce entrepreneurial mindset (EM) for online or on-site courses, in an exploratory way. Even though there are numerous resources available for introducing EM, the TY4YS activity approach is very interactive and most importantly, instead of teaching the entrepreneurial concepts first and then engaging in related activities, the students first play, make mistakes, reflect and learn. When the concepts are subsequently presented, they are more relatable and better retained.

The activity starts with a military veteran describing veterans’ issues. The player's objective is to create an end-product to mitigate some of those challenges and showcase that end-product at an upcoming veterans conference. The players (students) will make a series of decisions during the activity leading to an end-product that the customers (veterans) will find valuable. After each run of the activity, players are given a score and feedback to reflect, so that during the next run they make better decisions and create a more valuable solution from the veterans’ perspective. The decisions students make pertain to various stages of the engineering design process — research, brainstorming, prototyping, testing and most importantly involving the end-users and incorporating customer feedback (ideally) throughout the process. The activity will take 15-30 minutes from start to finish and may be completed multiple times.

EM concepts were introduced in the first week of the freshman ‘Introduction to Engineering' course (36 students) and the TY4YS activity was made available 2 weeks later, as an intervention to reinforce those concepts at an application level, before the start of the final project. The efficacy of using this activity was analyzed by pre and post-activity surveys. In these surveys, the students were asked to self-rate their competency in understanding and applying EM and engineering design process (EDP); then they were given a problem to solve where they can show their EM and EDP understanding on an application level. Results showed that even though students’ self-rated level of competency was very high in the pre-activity survey they displayed poor understanding of EM in solving the provided application problem. In the post-activity survey, the self-rated competency was similarly high, but the displayed understanding significantly improved. In the application problem, students clearly showed the value of involving the customer multiple times in the EDP, in iterative design-and-improve cycles. The further reflection questions in the survey indicated that the students were able to understand EM concepts and make actionable and effective plans to apply EM both in their upcoming courses or side projects, and their future career as engineers.

Grewal, A. S. (2021, August), Paper: Efficacy of teaching entrepreneurial mindset using a game-like activity Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual .

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