Preparing undergraduate students for lifelong learning: lessons learned from entrepreneurship education

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This thesis presents an exploration of ‘how entrepreneurship education pedagogy can enhance undergraduate business students’ autonomous motivation for self-directed learning’. It has twin, equally valuable, purposes: to make an original theoretical contribution and to improve professional practice in this area. The work addresses the lack of pedagogical research in entrepreneurship education that focuses on learner development, with a specific aim at development of self-directed learning skills for lifelong learning.
The research is approached with a concurrent, mixed methods design, comparing pre- and a post-EE, self-assessment survey results from 245 students, enrolled in a Young Enterprise venture creation programme, and a control group at a Dutch university. With the use of open-question surveys among the same population, during and after the EE modules, as well as from focus group discussions with a selection of participating students and teachers, explanation was sought for the observations drawn from the quantitative study.
Significant relationships were found between students’ self-reported maturity of autonomy, self-efficacy, and motivation for learning, and in how these relate to self-directed learning readiness. Entrepreneurship education was found to significantly moderate the relationship between the learning characteristics and self-directed learning, and to strengthen of the students’ perceived readiness for self-directed learning. Explanation for the impact of EE were found to be related to the stage-wise, mixed pedagogy approach to learning, that combines authentic learning with a hierarchical approach to competence development, and supportive team dynamics.
The research contributes to practice with a proposed conceptual framework for understanding how to prepare for self-directed learning readiness and a teaching-learning framework for its development in formal educational settings. It contributes to knowledge with its deeper understanding of how students experience learning in EE and how that affects their willingness to pursue learning opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthumbria University
Number of pages239
Place of PublicationNewcastle
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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