Entrepreneurial Pedagogy: an Approach for the Development of Transversal Competencies
Entrepreneurial pedagogy integrates a variety of innovative and active teaching approaches, which facilitate the integration of technology, and makes the learning process captivating and meaningful for the student. However, the reflections on entrapreneurship education and the actions in this field of teaching must not only focus on the students, but also reach the teachers, who are important agents of change and sources of inspiration.
The objective of this report is to provide educational stakeholders, teachers and decision makers, at the college level, a guide to help promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among their students. It offers educational tools for a teaching approach to implement entrepreneurial activities and offers digital tools to enhance teaching practices.
Table of contents
- Entrepreneurship education: an overview
- In practice: approaches and tools to implement entrepreneurial pedagogy
- Useful references
Entrepreneurship education: an overview
The competency-based approach to learning, which began implementation in 2001, has generated a lot of changes in how learning is conceived. Other realities affect the mission of the school or the role of teachers:
- The social constructivist perspective
- This change of paradigm places the student at the center of the learning process and modifies the role of the teacher, who accompanies and guides in the construction of knowledge.
- A diverse school population
- Whether it is due to the opening to immigration or to the increased presence of students with special needs, the teacher is increasingly called upon to propose differentiated teaching approaches.
- A shifting job market
- The employment market is affected by rapid and frequent changes. To develop functional and adaptive students, it is important to enhance their exit profile. The development of transversal competencies (critical thinking, communication skills, problem solving,) in order to strengthen the skills of their students, is today of concern to several teachers.
- A generation accustomed to digital technology
- In 2018, most students are already accustomed to a certain use of digital objects and pedagogical approaches involving digital technology. This reality must be taken into account in the design of educational activities and poses the challenge to provide digital skills training (ethics, methodology, digital autonomy) to the students (and teachers). The consultation arising from the Stratégie numérique du Québec (Digital Strategy of Quebec) is testimony to the importance given to this factor, which continually transforms the different sectors of activity, including education.
For these reasons, we are witnessing a need to adapt teaching in a rapidly and continually evolving social and technological context.
Convinced that schools can contribute favourably to the development of the spirit of entrepreneurship, the ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (MEES), for the past 15 years has introduced actions to promote entrepreneurial values in schools (Pépin, 2015). The aim of furthering entrepreneurship education at the college level is to:
- Enable students to give a meaning to their studies
- Stimulate regional economic development
- Ensure a continuity between the entrepreneurial activities conducted in secondary schools and the university entrepreneurial centers
Definitions and distinctions
For Pepin (2015), entrepreneurship education is divided into 2 components, depending on whether entrepreneurship is considered as an object of study or as a learning tool.
- Entrepreneurship education (entrepreneurship as an object of study)
- It consists in teaching entrepreneurship as a discipline. Its objective is the transmission of knowledge in the field of entrepreneurship, the development of the entrepreneurial mindset (to undertake a project and see it through) as well as entrepreneurship (to create a for-profit or a not-for-profit business). Teachers share their knowledge of launching businesses and set up activities and projects that bring students to produce goods, a service or an innovative event that is worthwhile for their milieu.
- To implement this vision of entrepreneurship education, several colleges offer complementary courses in entrepreneurship, AEC Programs in starting up businesses, or venture creation. Colleges will also provide an exit profile for the DCS in business management or accounting and management.
- Entrepreneurial pedagogy (entrepreneurship as a learning tool)
- According to Kearney and Surlemont (2009), this approach advocates the integration of different disciplinary content in entrepreneurial-type contextual settings. Students learn by dealing with real world challenges like those they may encounter in their adult lives (in a job, for example). It is necessarily an active pedagogy. It brings the students to develop the spirit of entrepreneurship, which means to:
- Imagine, innovate and create
- Broaden their field of action
- Translate their ideas into projects
- Engage in a project and see it through
- Take initiatives
- Meet challenges
- Be accountable to others
- Work in a team
- Contribute to solving social problems
- Become actors in their own lives
- This report will focus specifically on this second component of entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial pedagogy. It will also explore new avenues that digital technology can provide to support this pedagogical approach. Digital technology will also contribute to making the pedagogical approach more innovative and better adapted to the new realities.
The 4 principles of entrepreneurial pedagogy
The aim of entrepreneurial pedagogy is to implement tools, expertise, strategies and pedagogical approaches to develop entrepreneurial values, attitudes and skills among students.
To implement entrepreneurial pedagogy in the classrooms, Kearney (1999) proposes some operational considerations. To be entrepreneurial, a pedagogical sequence must contain the 4 following characteristics:
- It is empowering. It encourages students to take charge of their own learning.
- It is experiential. It allows the student to learn through experience rather than learn from the experience of others.
- It is reflexive. It encourages students to think about what is learned and how it is learned.
- It is cooperative. Collaborative work enables the different members of a team to contribute to the learning process of others.
The following table illustrates the learning outcomes of each of these 4 principles.
|Empowering activity||Increase autonomy and the sense of responsibility|
|Experiential activity||Engage students in concrete experiences|
|Promote learning through authentic and meaningful situations|
|Reflexive activity||Help structure ideas by systematically exploiting knowledge|
|Promote mental activity (metacognition) and the construction of knowledge|
|Stimulate attitudes of commitment, perseverance, creativity, pride and self-confidence|
|Cooperative activity||Encourage teamwork at a distance|
|Develop and strengthen social skills|
|Support learning by social interactions (Sociocognitive conflict)|
|Reinforce team spirit, motivation, active listening, sharing and humility|
The document Conception d’une activité d’enseignement d’attitudes professionnelles dans le programme collégial Commercialisation de la mode selon l’alignement pédagogique et le modèle ADDIE, available in French on the Centre de documentation collégiale (CDC) website, is a rich resource for methods and tools to create teaching activities. These activities encourage the development of professional attitudes similar to those entrepreneurial pedagogy help develop .
The teacher’s roles in entrepreneurial pedagogy
The use of entrepreneurial pedagogy assumes that the teacher take on many roles, sometimes different from those associated with lecture-based teaching. These roles can be, among others:
- Motivator. The teacher motivates the student in order to foster commitment.
- Guide. The teacher accompanies the student throughout the learning process and serves as a guide. The teacher can refocus the student’s interest on the real objects of learning.
- Facilitator. The teacher provides access to knowledge, but students are given the autonomy to construct their own learning.
These roles require that the teacher develop leadership and management skills, as well as the ability to create meaningful educational environments and situations for the students.
In practice: approaches and tools to implement entrepreneurial pedagogy
Teachers use various entrepreneurial approaches, often in an implicit manner. In this section you will explore various examples of the practical implementation of the entrepreneurial pedagogy at the college level. These examples will be accompanied by suggestions for tools, including digital tools, to help you set up an entrepreneurial teaching activity.
It is a pedagogical method where the student must mobilize informational resources in order to understand and then find a solution to a problem found in trigger material. Whether it is used in a collaborative or individual learning context, the problem-based approach engages the student in a cognitive process through the use of concrete situations and a constructivist approach to learning. This approach is similar to the case study in management.
Example of how to implement
In a workshop entitled Étincelles (Sparks), Marie Pier Garneau, pedagogical advisor and person in charge of the Committee of Entrepreneurship Education at the CEGEP of the Outaouais and PEEC respondent, presents students with a problem situation to resolve in teams. Students have to design a pawn that will be used in a board game for children 5 to 12 years old. The pawn must therefore be easy to handle for children, stable on the game board and in keeping with the title of the game, “The Fourth Dimension”.
This 40-minute exercise allows them to develop attitudes and behaviours that will serve them in the ideation process, later on.
Pedagogical or entrepreneurship approach
The project approach places the student at the heart of the learning process. This formula stimulates several entrepreneurial values (self-confidence, motivation, commitment, team spirit). By joining forces and finding the necessary means, the students are called upon to exploit concrete situations, in order to foster learning or to create a value-added offering for the benefit of a target audience.
Example of how to implement
Here is a project that could get students thinking creatively, collectively generating new ideas, as well as developing their organizational skills and their personal sense of efficacy.
At a certain point in my career as a teacher, I realized that my students learning became more sustainable when they were placed in concrete situations. This explains why the project-based pedagogy was an integral part of my approach to teaching. And to enhance the development of their skills, increase their commitment, we created a club of student entrepreneurs, the Sans Limite d’Amos in the fall of 2008. The realization of various entrepreneurial projects provided my students with the opportunity to apply the theoretical concepts learned in class. Thanks to their participation in the organization of authentic activities, they could develop a range of transversal skills.
Pedagogical practice firm
It is a fictitious company, operating according to the same principles as a real commercial enterprise. This concept was developed in Germany in 1970. Today, the worldwide network of practice firms (5300 practice firms in 42 countries), allows the firms to perform simulated transactions with each other. The concept is becoming more and more widespread in the Quebec college network.
Example of how to implement
Example of an online boutique created by the students in Nathacha Tremblay’s class.
Two students in Techniques de bureautique at Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon, at work in the school practice firm [French] (photo credits: Martin Hardy).
Simulations and games
Games and simulations can be used in an educational setting in order to help students develop critical thinking skills and to foster students’ metacognition by providing them with commonplace situations from professional life or from the business world.
Example of how to implement
Business plan competitions, entrepreneurial pitches or stock market software simulations are all learning strategies that present different aspects of entrepreneurship.
The PEEC offers an interesting approach [French] for the implementation of an entrepreneurship simulation activity. Similarly, this real life story [in French] entitled “Une simulation de gestion pour jeunes entrepreneurs en formation (A simulation of management for young entrepreneurs in training)” testifies to the judicious use which may be made of this pedagogical approach.
Activities integrating the 4 principles of entrepreneurial pedagogy
Here are a few examples of activities for each of the 4 principles of entrepreneurial pedagogy. These activities will be illustrated by the stories published on Profweb and college teacher practices. These activities may make use of digital technology: you will find a few examples that integrate well into a pedagogical approach with entrepreneurial aims.
|Principles of entrepreneurial pedagogy||Examples with digital technology|
|Empowering activity||Use video capsules (YouTube) so that the student can acquire new knowledge autonomously|
|Use virtual learning environments (Moodle, LEA) so that students actively participate in the learning process and take responsibility for their own learning|
|Reflexive activity||Ask students to use a mind map to structure their thoughts (Cmaptool, Mindmeister, Mindup, Xmind)|
|Use a template such as Business Model Generation or a business plan to develop a business concept|
|Create discussion forums to follow the construction of learning and the manner in which this learning structures the student’s thoughts (Facebook, Twitter et autres réseaux sociaux )|
|Request students produce a written summary or video that will allow them to reflect on their learning and then report on it|
|Cooperative activity||Resort to group learning activities|
|Opt for digital applications that allow groups to collaborate remotely Asana, Trello, GoogleDrive, Office 365, Skype or VIA|
|Experiential activity||Select concrete experiences and propose activities that would simulate the tasks carried out in their profession or in the business world|
|Use applications or software that will be useful for their profession or in business (accounting software for example)|
|Carry out simulations using relevant tools or technologies|
|Propose internships, participation in a mini entreprise or on site visites|
Entrepreneurial pedagogy provides avenues and operational principles for active learning pedagogy that is centered on the student. Several pedagogical approaches are consistent with entrepreneurial pedagogy, which targets the development of the student’s transversal competencies. This teaching design may require that teachers transform their role and review the educational sequence of their course.
We hope the examples of teaching practices and the resources proposed in this report will have served to inspire the teacher who wishes to develop a teaching model with an entrepreneurial focus. The use of the technology will be useful to:
- Create learning environments
- Enable students to organize their work
- Exchange through collaborative tools
- Promote the learning of the tools that can be found in the work place and thus focus on authentic learning situations
- Kearney P. (1999). Enterprising ways to teach and learn, North Hobart Tasmania, Australia: Pty KLtd, Enterprise Design Associates.
- Pepin, M. (2015). «Apprendre à s’entreprendre en milieu scolaire: Une étude de cas collaborative à l’école primaire» (thèse de doctorat, Université Laval, Canada).
- Surlemont, B., & Kearney, P. (2009). Pédagogie et esprit d’entreprendre. Bruxelles: de Boeck.
- Commission scolaire des Affluents. (2015). Le potentiel pédagogique de 250 applications pédagogiques. Repéré sur csaffluent.qc.ca
- Dumas, B. et M. Leblond (2002). Les rôles de l’enseignant en pédagogie de projet (PDF). Québec français. Repéré sur Érudit.
- Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport (MELS). (2008). Mesure de sensibilisation à l’entrepreneuriat à l’intention des élèves du primaire, du secondaire, de la formation générale des adultes et de la formation professionnelle, préuniversitaire et technique. Québec: Gouvernement du Québec.
- Roberge, M. (2017). Exploiter les jeux numérique pour favoriser l’apprentissage. Repéré sur Ecole Branchée.