EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING AS A TRAINING MODEL FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATORS
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This study addresses the need for professional development programs that focus on the practice of teaching, helping higher education institution entrepreneurship educators to select and apply appropriate pedagogy. A needs assessment conducted in the Spring 2019 and an extensive literature review found that there are limited professional development programs for higher education institution (HEI) educators that help them develop the pedagogical content knowledge, teacher self-efficacy, and skills to apply appropriate pedagogy to increase their students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE), leading to low teacher self-efficacy and low entrepreneurship pedagogical content knowledge. Since HEIs often view research skills as a more valuable asset than teaching capabilities, this belief might create a conflict with educators’ ability to receive training and support to develop their pedagogical skills. To address this problem, a six-week entrepreneurship pedagogy seminar (EPS) framed by Bandura’s social cognitive theory (1986) and Kolb's experiential learning model (1984) was delivered to support educator knowledge and application of entrepreneurship pedagogy (ePCK) and teacher self-efficacy (TSE). Twenty HEI entrepreneurship educators participated in the EPS. Analysis of the intervention outcomes demonstrates that the participants’ reported ePCK was high before and increased after participating in the EPS. Participants reported that the EPS increased their knowledge of the value of pedagogy and of two components of ePCK, student-centric pedagogy, and experiential learning. Participants’ reported TSE started and stayed high after participating in the EPS, with no statistically significant changes, while a pattern emerged in the qualitative data showing that participants’ reported TSE increased after participating in the EPS. Participants reported that two components of the EPS contributed to TSE increases, (1) applying ePCK (student-centric, experiential pedagogy) and (2) working with peers and in teams. Finally, participants' reported application of student-centric, experiential pedagogical approaches (ePCK) started and stayed high with no statistically significant changes, while a pattern emerged in the qualitative data showing that their reported ePCK application increased after participating in the EPS. Participants described applying more student-centric, experiential pedagogy (ePCK) after (1) experiencing Kolb’s ELT, (2) receiving feedback from students, and 3) applying the entrepreneurial pedagogy experiment (EPE) assignment.