CEWIL Research Matters: January 2020

Article #1: Students’ assessment of experiential learning in an entrepreneurship curriculum: Expectations versus outcomes (2016)

Author 

Liang, K., Dunn, P., Howard, A., and Khananayev, S

Journal 

Journal of Business & Entrepreneurship, 28(1), 125-144

Source 

Work-Integrated Learning Research Portal

Purpose

To provide assessment tools that work-integrated learning (WIL) researchers and practitioners can use to evaluate student expectations and learning outcomes.

Methodology

Evaluation instruments (surveys) were distributed to 110 students during one semester of the course Introduction to Community Entrepreneurship, offered at a university in the United States. The course involved an innovative curriculum called Dollar Enterprise.

Key findings

Students had very different expectations compared to their experiences in terms of business process, entrepreneurship concepts, teamwork, communication, and transformation of failure.

 

Practitioner's thoughts by

Joanne Islip (Manager, Work-Integrated and Experiential Learning Services, Sheridan College)

How might the results of this work impact how you do your job?

In my role, I continually seek new approaches and methods to support WIL and experiential learning (EL) activities for students. Liang et. al (2016) discuss one example of a non-conventional entrepreneurship curriculum and they conclude “we hope to demonstrate that new ideas and new opportunities in entrepreneurship education could be inspired through students’ reflections on experiential learning linking to entrepreneurship education” (p. 141). This article inspires readers to use reflection beyond an evaluation tool, and to consider how reflection can improve WIL/EL program design and development. Perhaps evaluations can inform how post-secondary institutions enhance the variety of experiential offerings; how we can better help students to understand their personal growth and competency development through WIL/EL; and how we can use career education to prepare students for “real life” (p.141). If we regularly tap into student reflections and adapt our programming to reflect their learning and observations, WIL/EL experiences will encourage students to feel confident about their skills and to know they are ready for real life.


Article #2: An emerging ecosystem for student start-ups (2017)

Author

Wright, M., Siegel, D. S., Mustar, P

Journal

Journal of Technology Transfer, 42, 909-922

Source

Work-Integrated Learning Research Portal

Purpose

To provide a framework that allows us to understand the ecosystem required to enable students to launch successful startups.

Methodology

The authors developed a framework based on existing literature and their own empirical research.

Key findings

Eight elements of the ecosystem framework are identified and discussed: the university environment, external context, evolution (time), investors, support, entrepreneurs, and activities (pre-accelerators to accelerators and incubators).

 

Practitioner’s thoughts by

Matthew Rempel (Director, Career-Integrated Learning, Sheridan College) 

What insights did you gain from reading this article that were useful to you?

Wright, Siegel, and Mustar (2017) introduce a comprehensive framework of entrepreneurial ecosystems for student start-ups. Our students are actors in unique ecosystems influenced by the external environment and their academic institution. Faculty/staff can use this framework to access their institution’s positionality within this ecosystem and identify its strengths and weaknesses. While there is no magic eight ball that can predict the success of a new business, we can use this framework to assist students to plan for their start-ups and understand how to best use their ecosystem to their advantage.

How might the results of this work impact how you do your job?

The importance of mentors, investors, and other supportive actors in industry are critical to prosperous start-up ecosystems. We also know entrepreneurship is an emerging form of WIL defined by CEWIL (2019). For those of us who work in career services or work-integrated learning departments, we know we are the epicentre of industry and student matches. So how might we leverage our relationships and connections to support our entrepreneurial students? How are we partnering with on-campus incubators, faculty, and entrepreneurial centres? Lastly, as we consider entrepreneurship WIL, how can we leverage the understanding of our own ecosystems to inform our program design?