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Students As Entrepreneurial Learners


em*ploy*ee  
noun

: a person who works for another person or for a company for wages, salary, or some other form of compensation

en*tre*pre*neur  noun

: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise




"How do you constantly look around you, all the time, for new ways, and new resources, to learn new things?" - John Seely Brown

Heutagogy is the study and application of self-determined learning. Rather than merely improving or reframing education, Jon Andrews explains that an entrepreneurial mindset is necessary to transform education "into a complete experience and preparation for the world today, as well as, for an uncertain future." (1)

World-renowned scholar, Yong Zhao, states, "Traditional schooling aims to prepare employees rather than creative entrepreneurs. As a result, the more successful traditional schooling is (often measured by test scores in a few subjects), the more it stifles creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit." (2) 



Why is entrepreneurial learning relevant? 


With a skill half-life of only several years, it will become increasingly essential for people to reinvent themselves, and acquire new skill sets, for economic and social sustainability. Zhao differentiates employment-oriented education from entrepreneur-oriented education by contrasting employable skills versus enhanced human talents. 









Sometimes framed as informal or personal learning, entrepreneurial learning challenges schools to move from content transfer to participatory education models. The network age in which we live provides infinite information and learning possibilities, but what does entrepreneurial learning look like in formal learning institutions, schools?
  • Students, with the help of a mentor, plan, organize, manage, measure, and reflect upon their learning.
  • Teachers, also entrepreneurial learners, provide cross-curricular mentorship to students.
  • Connecting and networking help shift learning from content-based to context-based experiences.
  • Making and tinkering reinforces creativity, persistence, collaboration, and problem-solving.
  • All learners use portfolios for journals, reflecting, documenting, and sharing.
  • Project-based/problem-based education provides the foundation for authenticity in learning and assessment.
  • Curriculum and assessment are flexible and negotiated between mentor and learner.
  • The learner defines and manages the educational pathways.
  • The learner asks the key questions that drive inquiry and discovery.

Examples of Schools Featuring Entrepreneurial Learning


There are undoubtedly other shining examples of schools featuring entrepreneurial learning. Please share your examples in the comment section below. Thank you to Terry Heick at TeachThought for sharing this terrific video highlighting entrepreneurial learning.




(1) Experiences in Self-Determined Learning, L.M Blaschke, C. Kenyon, & S. Hase

(2) World Class Learners: Educating Creative & Entrepreneurial Learners, Yong Zhao



photo credit: Nathan Wind as Cochese via photopin cc

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