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Develop.evaluate.embed.sustain: enterprise education for keeps

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to discuss the proposal that curriculum designed for and about enterprise education can be sustained via a cyclical model of evaluation. Such an approach takes into consideration an important aspect of enterprise education which is "context", a significant aspect overtly linked to the differing subject disciplines offering such curriculum. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The design of this research project was driven by the authors' suggestion that to evaluate the impact of enterprise education pedagogy different factors to those that are currently prescribed need to be taken into consideration. Current evaluation practice is to take a global, generic approach, often utilising quantitative techniques, but the authors argue that evaluation of enterprise education should consider local, contextual factors only ‐ key contextual factors being subject discipline, along with the lecturer's own context, teaching and learning materials and implicit and explicit notions of enterprise education. The research utilised two different modules and approaches to evaluation: first, a questionnaire designed using module materials such as learning descriptor and module outcomes which produced quantitative data that could be linked directly to the module learning and teaching inputs as well as lecturer's approach; and second, a focus group-type approach undertaken with students on a completely separate and distinct module returning qualitative data, The former module was explicitly enterprise education and the latter module had a very implicit nature in relation to enterprise education. The students for the latter module were not aware of the enterprise connotation of the module. Findings ‐ The authors' notion that contextual evaluation has real value was upheld in each case. Both lecturers used the data collected to improve and make productive changes to their module content and teaching and learning materials for the following cohorts of students. Practical implications ‐ It is the authors' belief that contextual evaluation offers enterprise education pedagogy the opportunity to be evaluated in a more useful and practical forum, with results not only illustrating the impact on students but also on the module content and how this has been instrumental in the students' progress. Originality/value ‐ Those wishing to embed and sustain enterprise education by keeping the topic up to date on an annual basis will find this case study useful and, upon request, may have access to the evaluation methods used by the authors.
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Keywords: Curricula; Cyclical evaluation; Enterprise contexts; Enterprise education; Sustainability; United Kingdom; Universities

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 25 May 2012

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