An Exploration of Two Entrepreneurship Education Programs Delivered to Secondary School Students and Their Impact on Student Self-Efficacy

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Thompson, Kate
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Smith, Raymod
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In recent years, there has been significant global growth in the use of entrepreneurship education (EE), predominantly in higher education. Producing entrepreneurs and developing entrepreneurial capabilities is now considered an economic priority and teaching high-impact entrepreneurship has become an important role for universities (Office of the Chief Scientist, 2015). It has been argued that EE should begin as early as possible (World Economic Forum, 2009) and that reshaping education and training policies will help narrow the widening skills students require in an ever-evolving global economy (World Economic Forum, 2016, p. 24). EE programs can assist students in developing the crucial enterprise skills that 21st-century employers are seeking, including creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork (FYA, 2016; Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority [QCAA], 2015). There is thus a need for more Australian studies investigating EE at the secondary school level. Australia currently has no widely implemented entrepreneurship programs offered by schools. There are, however, a small number of national programs run by external providers and implemented in schools, including the Club Kidpreneur Challenge, aimed at upper primary students (Club Kidpreneur Foundation, 2017) and the secondary-themed $20 Boss program (FYA, 2017). Given this contextual background, this study addresses the central research question: What are the key elements of externally provided EE programs? After examination of the literature, self-efficacy, knowledge and student experience were identified as playing key roles in the success of EE programs. Therefore, the three sub-questions that guided the collection and analysis of the data were: (1) Are there changes in students’ self-efficacy after participating in externally provided EE programs? (2) Are there changes in students’ knowledge after participating in externally provided EE programs? (3) How do students describe their experiences in externally provided EE programs? The results were then used to inform the identification and discussion of the key design elements used in externally provided EE programs and to propose an EE program model. These design elements included: pedagogical approach (delivery mode), knowledge (content) experiences, topics, learning outcomes, supporting materials and timeframe. Two cases are examined in this study using a mixed method approach – the first is the $20 Boss Program offered to Year 10 students, an in-class, teacher-delivered approach designed by FYA. The second case is the GLO@Logan Entrepreneurial Innovation Challenge, a 3-day initiative conducted by Griffith University at its Logan campus for Year 9 students. Exciting avenues for the development of secondary school EE programs arise from the findings presented in this thesis. As a study positioned within the secondary school context, this thesis has implications for teaching, learning, and research as it demonstrates that student self-efficacy and learning outcomes can be improved through EE via the integration of pedagogical approaches such as PBL. Past literature suggests PBL helps reduce classroom hierarchical barriers, resulting in students taking ownership of their learning (Huq & Gilbert, 2017). Given that students’ value of entrepreneurship increased following both case studies, it could be argued that exposure to EE – no matter the duration of the program – can have a positive impact on students’ knowledge and attitudes. Additionally, students were more confident in presenting to others and managing budgets after partaking in $20 Boss. Given the importance of EE, and particularly 21st-century enterprise skills more generally, it is clear that there is a need for the informed design of EE programs, within and outside of school. The application of this research serves as a pilot study for wider research into EE approaches at a secondary school level. Importantly, this thesis makes recommendations about what salient elements of the EE programs examined can be advanced as essential elements of future EE programs at the secondary school level. In advancing these salient elements of EE programs, this thesis serves as a stepping stone in reshaping the secondary curriculum to help prepare the next generation for the 21st-century workforce and beyond.

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Thesis (Masters)
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Master of Education and Professional Studies Research (MEdProfStRes)
School Educ & Professional St
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