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# 5 Ways How Educational Institutions can Teach Entrepreneurship to Students Entrepreneurship cannot just be taught and is learned best by application and experience

By Veni Nair

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In recent times, there has been a thrust towards Entrepreneurship Education in India, especially with the Start-up India movement. Entrepreneurship has become a compulsory course in many universities both at the post graduate and graduate level. Recently, it has also found its way into school curriculum. But the pedagogy used in teaching entrepreneurship is debatable. Entrepreneurship cannot be taught and is learned best by application. Some innovative ways that can be tried are listed below:

Starting a business

Entrepreneurship can be best taught by providing students with hands on experience. It means the acquisition of skills, knowledge, and mindset through hands-on, action-based activities that enhance entrepreneurial performance. Since entrepreneurship is a very complex subject, one cannot avoid theory altogether. The best method is blending theory with practice, which means actionable theory through practice. The students should develop their ideas into a business plan and develop prototype and at least set up a venture. The students also learn team work, delegation, the importance of networking, presentations and negotiation through this.

Simulations/Games

The influence of computer games and gaming on the current young generation is undeniable, with more and more educators and corporate trainers looking for applications in both the academic and professional worlds. Simulations and gaming aligns them with learning, play and participation while exposing them to the real challenges. The risk of a real business is not there while the students learn everything practically.

Design-based learning

Design thinking in a business is applied to find out what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity. Design is a process of divergence and convergence requiring skills in observation, searching, generating alternatives, critical thinking, feedback, visual representation, creativity, problem-solving, and value creation. Teaching entrepreneurship through a design thinking mode can help students identify and act on unique venture opportunities using observation, fieldwork, and understanding value creation across multiple stakeholder groups. Overall, this helps the student to think more entrepreneurially and creatively and participate in opportunity discovery.

Case studies

Case studies have been used in management education for long. It is sure to work very well in teaching entrepreneurship too. The core of entrepreneurship is the identification and exploitation of opportunities. The majority of entrepreneurship case studies focus on opportunity evaluation and 'business plans' which can help the students in understanding the course. The students also can take up live case studies of entrepreneurs and start-ups and offer solutions for their problems. This gives them exposure to the real world of entrepreneurship and prepares them for their future journey.

Entrepreneurs' teaching the course (First-hand account)

Nothing works better than hearing from the horse's mouth. So, if the course is delivered and taught by entrepreneurs, the students can learn better. They can share their experience and the students get an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. It would reduce their risks when they set up their own ventures.

In an ever-changing world, it is important that teachers adopt pedagogy in a way that stands the test of time. At the end of the day, entrepreneurship is a discipline that has to be experienced. All the above-mentioned methods can be blended together for an effective delivery of the entrepreneurship course.

Veni Nair

Assistant Director, ITM Business School

Dr. Veni Nair, Assistant Director, ITM has over 18 yrs of experience in Academics at the MBA level in various Institutes in India and Abroad. She began her career in Operations, soon switched over to academics and has worked  under University of Madras, University of Kerala and Cambridge College International, Dubai before joining ITM in 2008
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