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Author: Doan Winkel

Entrepreneurship educator Doan Winkel brings an experiential approach to all his ideas for how to disrupt education and provide a more engaging student experience
AI Copilot: Slides & Tools to Improve Group Work

AI Copilot: Slides & Tools to Improve Group Work

Let’s face it:

Getting students to do group work, especially online, can feel like herding cats in a thunderstorm.

But Remote Group Work is Essential

Thanks to the pandemic, the workplace has fundamentally changed. In 2023…

80% of remote-capable employees expected to work in remote or in hybrid environments.

We need to ensure our students know how to collaborate effectively, especially online.

To that end, here are:

Slides for Smooth Group Work

Download and modify these slides to help your students use ai copilots to work better in groups:

Inside these slides are a bunch of ai copilot resources for your students including:

  • A group contract
  • Scheduling tools
  • Communication tools
  • Video collaboration tools
  • Whiteboard tools
Quick Slide: AI Is Your Co-Pilot

Quick Slide: AI Is Your Co-Pilot

Using AI makes some students nervous because they aren’t sure what it can and can’t do. They aren’t sure whether they can use it or how they can use it.

It’s our job to explain it in an engaging way.

Like the prototyping slides, you can use this slide to start a conversation to help your students think about how they can use AI:

AI is a coplit

This sets you up to introduce AI in an approachable way so your students generate more realistic output.

Combine these with the AI Interviewing Simulator or the How AI Thinks exercise or the exercise and your students will discover that…

AI can be a huge help on their journey!


In spring, if you’d like:

  1. Engaging activities
  2. Skills-based structure and
  3. Easy LMS integration

Get a preview of the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC).

What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share exercises to engage your students.

Subscribe here to be the first to get these in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!

Missed Our Recent Articles?

Whether you are new to our community of entrepreneurship educators, or you’ve been contributing for years, we wanted to give you a list of the posts our community finds most valuable:

  • Pilot Your Purpose. This exercise helps students discover what they’re passionate about and see how learning entrepreneurial skills can turn that passion into their purpose.
  • 2021 Top Lesson Plans. Here is the list of our 2021 top entrepreneurship exercises and lesson plans based on feedback from our fast-growing community of thousands of entrepreneurship instructors.
  • “The best class I’ve taken!”  We all want a Dead Poets Society moment in our entrepreneurship class. One professor using the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum got hers!
  • Teaching Customer Interviewing. This card and the online game is a powerful way to teach students the importance of customer interviewing, and the right questions to ask.
Improved: Pilot Your Purpose v2

Improved: Pilot Your Purpose v2

Not every student dreams of becoming an entrepreneur but…
Every student yearns to find their purpose.

Regardless of their entrepreneurial ambitions, helping students define their purpose will give them a reason to learn entrepreneurial skills. Whether they want to help refugees find jobs or help student-athletes avoid injuries, helping students discover their passions is key to keeping them engaged.

What’s Your Purpose?

The original Pilot Your Purpose is extremely popular with students because it helps them identify their interests, skills, passions, and desire for impact.

Teaching Entrepreneurship Pilot Your Purpose Exercise

After completing the exercise, students develop a purpose statement they can “pilot” throughout your course. As a result, your class becomes a way to pursue their purpose.

Integrating Purposeful AI 

Of course, for some students, introspection can be difficult. So we updated the exercise to leverage AI brainstorming prompts to help them discover passions they may not think of on their own:
ChatGPT prompt to help students generate ideas they may be passionate about
Note: if you or your students don’t have much experience with AI in the classroom, or you’d like to provide them a functional understanding of how it works, check out our Birds & Bees of Artificial Intelligence exercise.

Celebrate Their Purpose

Several more steps are outlined in the lesson plan below, but once students have identified a potential purpose, give them a chance to celebrate what excites them and have them create groups of 2 – 3 students and invite them to share with one another.

Pilot Your PurposeThen ask students to share their purpose with you by either:

  • Sharing their slide deck with you
  • Presenting their purpose to the class
  • Recording a video presenting and posting it on the class discussion board

Learning about what motivates your students will provide you with insight to help you address their needs, and will naturally increase engagement.

Connect it to Your Course

We use this exercise as the first lesson in our comprehensive entrepreneurship curriculum and strategically revisit it throughout the course. That helps make entrepreneurship skills personally relevant to students, regardless of their desire to “become an entrepreneur.”

By making your class about their purpose, whether or not they want to be entrepreneurs…

Your students have a reason to learn entrepreneurial skills.

Get the New “Pilot Your Purpose” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “Pilot Your Purpose” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan


It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

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How AI Thinks: The Birds and Bees of AI Answers

How AI Thinks: The Birds and Bees of AI Answers

For your students to be able to take advantage of full AI . . .
Students need to understand how AI works.

Lesson Plan: Birds & Bees of AI

Watch the video above to learn how to teach students:
  • Where AI answers come from
  • The difference between Google search and ChatGPT
  • When to use AI and when to avoid it
You can also get the lesson plan and slides below.

Step 1: A brand new language for AI answers

Tell your students they are going to learn a brand new language the same way AI learns new things.

Show them a list of words and their job is to figure out

  • Which words refer to birds
  • Which words refers to cats and
  • Which words refer to neither

Present this list of words to your students and ask which ones are the bird words.

Birds and bees exercise to understand how AI learns a new language

You’ll sit in awkward silence and be met with blank stares.

After a few moments, acknowledge your students have no clue which ones are the bird words. Explain this is exactly how AI answers start out.

Everything these AIs learn they’ve had to be trained on.

Before your students can answer the “bird word” question, they need training data.

Give them some bird words and ask them to observe what’s happening in their brain as you show these bird words.

  • Show the first bird word in this new language: Briz.
  • Show the second bird word: Buitle.
  • Show the third bird word: Bast.

Ask your students what the last bird word is. Tell them to write it down but don’t say it out loud, that you will count them down and all of them can shout it at once.

Count down 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . GO! and your students will likely all shout “BEOL!”

Exercise demonstrating how AIs identify patterns in wordsStep 2: AI answers through pattern recognition

Explain the way their brain works to identify an answer is the same way AI answers a question.

Your students started making connections and seeing patterns as soon as you showed them the second or third word. They could understand you were giving them the words that start with B.

Tell your students they recognized the pattern, which is exactly how we train AIs. 

Tell your students you’re moving on to the cat words, and same as with the bird words, you will show them a couple words and then you’ll count them down to tell you the last cat word.

Give them some cat words and ask them to observe what’s happening in their brain as you show these cat words.

  • Show the first cat word in this new language: Schluggat.
  • Show the second cat word: Fissat.

Count your students down to yell the third cat word 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . GO! and your students will likely yell a variety of answers.

Many students will say “Lerat.”

This answer makes sense because it ends with “at” just like “cat” and the first two cat words.

This is incorrect, because they don’t take the time to think through all the patterns you’ve given them.

It turns out AIs can be overly aggressive in pattern matching just like students who pick Lerat.

Step 3: Training data for accurate AI answers

Use the following story to highlight that an AI is only as good as its training data. If the AI doesn’t have enough training data it can can make incorrect assumptions, and if it has biased or incorrect training data, it can produce erroneous results. The point to drive home is that training data is of utmost importance.

The story is about AI researchers who were trying to train AI to detect malignant moles from images. They used a lot of images of moles to train the AI, and the AI came up with an astounding conclusion:

Rulers cause cancer.

The AI learned that any picture with a ruler in it also contained a malignant mole. So it concluded that rulers caused cancer. What happened is the AI researchers trained the tool on a number of pictures of people’s benign moles that didn’t have rulers in them, but the malignant moles did have rulers in them to indicate the size of the mole.

The AI got overly aggressive and thought anytime it sees a ruler the mole must be cancerous.

Back to the cat words.

Tell students that Lorat is not the right cat word, and ask them to shout out what is the last cat word in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . and they will shout “WRATT!”

How AIs learn language

Highlight the pattern of double letters that ends with an “at” sound.

Tell students they now have all the information they need to be an AI after these two training exercises.

Step 4: A brand new word!

As a new AI, you want them to use the patterns they learned so far to generate a brand new word that means “flying cat.”

Turning students into AIs by training to recognize patterns

Give your students about 30 seconds, and tell them you’ll count down for them to shout their answer. Count them down from 3, and you’ll hear some words that start with “B” and have double letters and end with an “at” sound. 

This is what you want because they are using their training to combine the attributes of bird and cat words. Talk about some of the words they’re sharing and how they made incorrect assumptions and/or produced erroneous results. 

For instance, maybe a student says “bat.” It does start with a “b” and end with an “at” sound, but it doesn’t have any double letters.

Maybe another student says “bullet.” It does start with a “b” and have double letters, but it does not end with an “at” sound.

This is how generative AIs work – they learn some patterns and combine them.

Step 5: Google answers vs. AI answers

Explain to your students this is the difference between these new AIs and something like Google. Google is basically a dictionary. It is a database of gathered information from around the web. So when they ask Google for that information, it searches for information on websites and creates a database of them.

When you ask Google for a definition, it retrieves information about that word and gives it to you.

The difference between Google and generative AI like ChatGPT

Now explain the difference of generative AI answers.

ChatGPT works from information it’s gathered across the web, but it’s not a dictionary.

Tell your students to think of a generative AI like ChatGPT like an incredible Lego builder. The Legos are not individual facts, but are patterns it observed. The AI builds a database of these patterns, and uses those patterns to generate brand new content that has never before been created.

As new generative AIs, your students never saw a word that means “flying cat” but they do know:

  • Things that fly are birds, and bird words start with a “b”
  • A cat word needs to contain double letters and end with an “at” sound

Tell them to combine these patterns and generate a brand new word from them.

For fun, give students 30 seconds to create a new word by combining these patterns. As they share, have fun celebrating their ability to use pattern recognition to create something the world has never known before.

Get the “The Birds & Bees of AI” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “The Birds & Bees of AI: Where Do Answers Come From?” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan


  It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.


Coming Soon…

In upcoming posts, we will be sharing more engaging AI exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


AI Interviewing Simulator

AI Interviewing Simulator

Students are reporting more social anxiety than ever.

This Fall, there’s a tool that can help…

New: AI Interviewing Simulator

The key to helping students feel more comfortable interviewing customers is practice.

The new AI Interviewing Simulator helps students practice their interviewing skills as many times as they need to.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Students describe a customer they want to interview…

Step 2: They ask interview questions out loud…

Step 3: The AI verbally responds to them…

(Bonus) Step 4: After asking all of their questions, the students get feedback on how how to improve their interviews…

Watch the Full AI Interviewing Simulator Demo

AI Interviewing Simulator for Entrepreneurship Educators

2 Ways Your Students Can Use the AI Interviewing Simulator

Option #1

Use the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum

ExEC provides 30+ engaging lessons you can use inside and outside your class.

Now ExEC includes the AI Interviewing Simulator, at no additional charge.

Option #2

Use just the ExEC Customer Interviewing Module

You can now integrate ExEC’s customer interviewing lessons into your course without having to adopt the entire curriculum. You’ll get exercises to teach:

  • Who to interview
  • What to ask during an interview
  • How to analyze interviews
  • And of course, your students will get full access to the new AI Interview simulator

All without you having to redesign your course.

Your students will get access to everything in ExEC, for life, and for less than the cost of a textbook.

Click Here to Chat About Either Option

Since so many students are experiencing social anxiety and are reluctant to talk to customers, we’re super excited about this new approach!

What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share more engaging resources we are developing for entrepreneurship educators to transform their classrooms!

Subscribe here to be the first to get these resources delivered to your inbox!

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!

How to Improve Lesson Plans

How to Improve Lesson Plans

If you’d like to improve lesson plans . . .

Just ask your students how they feel.

The surprisingly simple details are below, but I can attest this process works (it’s the same one we use to improve the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum).

Step 1: Ask Your Students How They Feel

At the end of each lesson or exercise, simply ask your students how they felt about it.

From our experience, surveying students about their feelings provides more actionable feedback than a question like “On a scale from 1 to 5 how would you rate…?”.

Here are the specific questions we students ask after every ExEC exercise:

We get better results by asking emotionally-based questions because:

  1. It’s easier for students to check boxes indicating their feelings than it is for them to score an exercise on an arbitrary number scale.
  2. We care as much about the “why” behind their rating as we do about the rating itself. From our experience, students provide more in-depth answers to why they have a feeling than why they gave something a numeric rating.

Step 2: Analyze the Data

Once your data comes back, patterns will emerge.

For example, this data from Fall 2021 shows how ExEC students felt after completing their first exercise:

While the majority of students felt excited and confident about the assignment, 18% of them felt confused, which provided an opportunity for improvement.

After reading why those students felt confused, we hypothesized adding a video that showed students how to turn their assignments in might reduce their confusion.

Step 3: Implement Improvements

In our case we created a video demonstrating how to submit ExEC assignments on each of the major LMSs (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, D2L).

In your case, you’ll implement solutions informed by your students’ surveys. After that, you can simply ask your students for their feedback again so you can . . .

Step 4: Compare the Before Data 

In our case, the impact of the new video was immediate. By Spring of 2022 . . .

We saw student confusion cut in half, while excitement and confidence continued to rise.

The best part is, you can use these four steps to improve just about anything related to your course.

Just ask these two questions:

  1. How did you feel doing this?
  2. Why that feeling?

And you can improve the quality of a specific lesson, a homework assignment, or the course overall. 

And now it’s your turn:

How did you feel about this article?

If you’d like to feel confident you’re using a curriculum that is continuously improving, check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

We practice what we preach to ensure you and your students have the most engaging experiences possible.

Preview ExEC Now

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

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Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

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Business Plans vs Business Models/Canvases: Data from Entrepreneurship Classes

Business Plans vs Business Models/Canvases: Data from Entrepreneurship Classes

Why do many folks teach business plans?

From our research . . .

It’s not because they think the business plans are the best tool for building a business.

We asked the Teaching Entrepreneurship community what tools they teach and many of the instructors we surveyed teach business plans because it’s a course requirement or because they believe it’s “standard practice” outside academia.

Our research appears to contradict the notion that business plans are standard practice as a majority (57%) of instructors outside academia don’t teach business plans at all.

In fact, across the nearly 300 instructors we surveyed, only 8% teach the business plan exclusively.

Compare that to the 88% of instructors who teach one of the “canvases” (e.g. Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and/or Value Proposition Canvas) and it’s clear business plans are no longer the de facto standard.

The most popular tools to teach entrepreneurship

Why Do Teachers Love the Business Plan?

The few respondents teaching only the business plan cited many reasons for preferring this tool. The most commons reasons are:

  • It is a comprehensive tool
  • It is necessary for some funding sources like bank loans
  • It is required by standards in the respondent’s particular context

But the vast majority of teachers don’t feel that way – across all teacher populations we surveyed (K-12 and higher ed, academic and non-academic, from the US and abroad), only 8% teach only the business plan

For instructors and course coordinators who still teach the business plan:

  • Requirements that business plans be taught because they are seen as a standard entrepreneurial practice should be reconsidered.
  • While some instructors see benefits in teaching business plans, and they may be important to teach in some circumstances, they are taught by a minority of instructors both inside and outside academia and should no longer be considered the de facto standard for describing businesses.

What Entrepreneurship Tools Do Teachers Use?

“Canvases” (Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and/or Value Proposition Canvas) have replaced the business plan as the most popular teaching tool.

As we mentioned earlier, 88% of instructors we surveyed teach with some version of a Canvas, and 50% teach the Business Model Canvas. 

Why Do Teachers Love the Canvas?

Our respondents cited many reasons for preferring the Business Model Canvas. The most common reasons are:

  • It is simple and user friendly. Specifically, some teachers noted the BMC is a way to engage non-business students that is not intimidating.
  • It forces students to focus on customer development and experimentation as they pursue product-market fit.
  • It is the dominant tool used in “the real world.”

Because of the dominance of the BMC in entrepreneurship education, we engaged Dr. Alexander Osterwalder in a series of posts to share how he teaches this tool. 

How Do The Entrepreneurship Tools You Use Compare To Your Peers?

  • Nearly 80% of K-12 teachers reported using a canvas tool to teach entrepreneurship, while almost 50% reported using a business plan.
  • Nearly 90% of academic teachers reported using a canvas tool to teach entrepreneurship, while almost 50% reported using a business plan.
  • Nearly 90% of US-based teachers reported using a canvas tool to teach entrepreneurship, while almost 50% reported using a business plan.

Other Popular Entrepreneurship Education Tools

AI Tools

To see the full list of additional teaching tools, please enter your email below.

In future posts we will share more about our upcoming Summer Summit and about tools and methods to increase student engagement.

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My ChatGPT Cofounder

My ChatGPT Cofounder

Last week we discussed the challenges of AI in academia. This week, we’re exploring the benefits of it, with a new lesson plan! In this exercise, your students will explore…
Who is a better cofounder: a human, or ChatGPT?
In this lesson you’ll simultaneously:
  1. Demonstrate some of the amazing capabilities of ChatGPT to your students
  2. You’ll also give them an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the business model validation process
This is a powerful exercise to wrap up your term, in particular as a final project or exam.
Watch the video below for a demo:

My ChatGPT Cofounder Demo

Get the “My ChatGPT Cofounder” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “My ChatGPT Cofounder” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.

Get the Lesson Plan


  It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.


Coming Soon…

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

Subscribe here to get lesson plans delivered in your inbox.

Join 15,000+ instructors. Get new exercises via email!


Do We Ban AI In The Classroom?

Do We Ban AI In The Classroom?

Many of us are concerned about the impact of ChatGPT and other AI tools on academic integrity.

How are we going to combat ChatGPT and other AI tools in our classrooms?

The major concern is that more and more students use ChatGPT to complete writing assignments.

Detecting AI writing with enough evidence to act will be a major challenge. As AI tools evolve, so do detection tools, but the detecting tools face higher expectations than those that create AI text, making it doubtful they’ll ever catch up.

Concerns about students shortcutting assignments using AI are very valid, and require creative restructuring of assignments.

While there’s no silver bullet to solve the problems AI-generated text pose, there are tools available to combat ChatGPT use in the classroom.

Let’s look at a few.

Tools to Detect AI Use in Writing Assignments

Here’s a video demonstrating how 3 popular AI detection tools work, and strategies that motivated students can use to defeat them.

Using AI for Good in the Classroom

Of course, AI isn’t all bad. In fact, when it comes to teaching entrepreneurship, it can be incredibly powerful. In our next post, we’ll show you the benefits of AI including how to:

  • Teach your students about AI and
  • Show them how it can help them quickly come up with new business models and experiments to test those business models

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Your Day 1 Problem

Your Day 1 Problem

Students’ eyes glaze over when they read the syllabus.

How we can engage students and start teaching them entrepreneurship skills from the moment they walk into our classes?

Jay Markiewicz from Virginia Commonwealth University developed a novel way to start your semester that almost guarantees students will WANT to come back!

Step 1: Problem Definition and Customer Discovery

It’s the first day of class. We want to be anti-boring.

We want to put students in the middle of an engaging experience right away.

And even better, we want the engagement to be instructive.

By asking the question below, the moment is instantly relevant because students are experiencing it in real time. Students begin by using Post-it notes to answer this question

What are the challenges and concerns students face on day one of a new course?

Surprised and intrigued by the question, your students write down their answers on Post-It notes you’ve left on their desks before class started.

Then you tell your students to text their friends and ask them the same question. 

Surprised again (this time by being instructed to text during class) your classroom will fill with discussion and energy as students get replies.

Just like that, within the first 5 minutes of your course, your students are practicing the real-world entrepreneurial skill of problem discovery…and loving it.

In small teams of 3-4, students take a moment to meet each other and then collaborate by discussing with each other the challenges/concerns they wrote on their post-it notes. 

In this step, students start identifying problems, and progress into customer discovery, all in the first moments of class!

Step 2: Data Analysis

In this step, teams use their Post-it notes to group similar answers, ranking their top concerns/challenges.

Each team writes their top 2-3 answers on the board to start a list of all of the concerns/challenges students identified.

You can now engage the class in a discussion on the priority “problems” that students have on day one.

Here are some example answers you may see as the top priority”

  • “Getting to know each other. Avoiding day one awkwardness.”
  • “Getting interested in the course. Knowing what I’ll be learning throughout the course.”

In this step, students start analyzing customer discovery data – and you’re not even halfway through your first class!

Step 3: Solution Generation

Now we engage students even deeper, and have a little fun along the way!

They practiced problem definition, customer discovery, and data analysis. The next skill is generating solutions to the problem they just identified.

Ask students to write answers on the Post-it notes to the following question:

If you were me, what solutions would you design for these problems?

Students don’t need to text friends this time. Instead, have them form NEW teams of 3-4 students and go through the same steps as above – meet each other, identify the most common solutions, then debrief with answers grouped on the board or wall.

Step 4: Reflection

The last step of this amazing kickoff experience, included in the lesson plan below, are to have students reflect on the question, “How was this activity instructive to us about entrepreneurship?”

This is where students identify, in their own words, the entrepreneurial process – complete with their own ah-hah moments. It’s a really fun way for students to discover the key principles of entrepreneurship….all on the first day of the class!

Click below to….

Get the Full “What’s Your Day 1 Problem?” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the “What is Your Day 1 Problem?” exercise to walk you and your students through the process step-by-step.


It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers. Please feel free to share it.

All we ask is that you leave us some feedback on it in the comments below so we can improve it!

Want More Exercises Like This?

ExEC is a structured collection of experiential exercises that teach students entrepreneurial skills regardless of their relationship to entrepreneurship.

As an less expensive alternative to a textbook, ExEC provides students lifetime access to a wide range of entrepreneurial tools, and provides instructors:

Preview ExEC Now

We will be sharing more engaging exercises like this one!

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