“This approach to learning is just what students need.” – Eric Liguori, Rowan University
From enabling students to discover ideas that are meaningful to them to improving customer interviews, we design lesson plans to enhance engagement and improve skill-building. The following are our 5 most popular lesson plans from 2019 to transform your students’ experience as they practice generating ideas, interviewing customers, identifying early adopters, and validating assumptions.
5. Increase the Quality of Your Student’s Ideas
One of the biggest challenges entrepreneurship professors tell us is inspiring students to come up with ideas that are impactful or solution-centered.
How do you get your students to focus on problems, not products?
So often, students are attracted to low-impact products without a clear idea of who their customer is, much less why they would want to buy into the idea. We want them to understand that customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions to their problems.
The Student Idea Generation lesson plan sparks your student’s idea generation so they can identify what problems they want to solve.
Rather than leading a brainstorming session in which students develop business ideas on their own (which can result in unactionable ideas), the Student Idea Generation lesson plan:
- Instructs students how to pinpoint the customers they’re passionate about helping
- Leads the students to identify the biggest challenges or problems they want to solve for these groups
In this lesson plan, students first discover the customers they are passionate about helping and the problems/emotions they want to help them with. Students then determine solutions they can use to create a successful business.
After this lesson, your students’ ideas will be:
- More focused because they’ve identified the specific group they want to help
- More practical because they’ll be solution-focused
- More innovative because they’re inspired to solve problems
4. Transform Your Student’s Customer Interviews
Nothing can make some students more uncomfortable than not knowing what to ask during customer interviews.
A number of factors make a student wary of conducting customer interviews, including:
- Talking to strangers gives them anxiety
- They’re nervous because they’ve never conducted an interview and want to get it right
- They don’t understand the benefit of interviews in the first place
Because customer interviewing is so critical to building solutions people want, customer interviews are an integral part of the entrepreneurship curriculum. We designed the Customer Interview lesson plan to eliminate the barriers students have around performing customer interviews.
This comprehensive lesson plan includes materials to prep before class, and step-by-step instructions for leading the lesson. After the lesson, students will walk away understanding:
- Their role in the interview
- What makes a successful interview
- Preparation for real customer interviews
- Specific interview questions
The benefits of this lesson plan are two-fold:
- Takes the guesswork out of customer interviews for the students
- Minimizes preparation for the instructor
3. Experiential Exercise for Teaching About Early Adopters
Another problem professors shared is teaching students how to identify early adopters. Early adopters are vital for the success of any product or service, but students often struggle in understanding the concept of an early adopter.
Students understand the definition of Early Adopters easier if they’re led through this experiential exercise.
The Finding Early Adopters lesson plan features a mechanical pencil challenge that introduces the concept of an early adopter and contrasts it with early majority and late majority customers. This exercise also demonstrates where and how to find early adopters.
This exercise was a finalist in the prestigious 2019 USASBE 3E Competition, which recognizes the best experiential entrepreneurship exercises at the USASBE Annual Conference.
After this lesson plan, students will be able to answer:
- Who is the target for customer interviews?
- How and where to find the best prospects for customer interviews?
2. Coaching for Entrepreneurship Students
While valuable, team projects can be a source of great anxiety for students. Many students working in teams:
- Worry about their final grade
- Fall behind with the coursework or understanding of the content
- Are bored because their team has surpassed other teams’ progress
Team projects can be problematic for professors to successfully meet students’ diverse needs. The How to Coach Your Students lesson plan provides a differentiated learning experience using individual team coaching sessions that provides a positive and productive team experience for all students.
Individual coaching sessions allow students to quantify the skills they’ve built and identify next steps.
Similar to a daily stand-up approach to scrum meetings, this lesson walks you step-by-step through a process to perform a Stand-Up Coaching session in 1 of 2 ways and discusses the pros and cons of each technique:
- Coaching through simulation
- Private team coaching
After this lesson, students will:
- Shift from searching for the right answer to asking the right questions
- Focus on learning rather than earning a specific grade
- Feel better equipped to prepare for their final presentation
1. The True Meaning of Minimum Viable Product
The 60 Minute MVP remains one of our most popular lesson plans. During this hour-long experience, students launch an MVP website, with an animated video and a way to take pre-orders, without any prior coding experience.
“One student described it as like a Navy Seal mental training exercise. Not sure it was that intense, but they were amazed and proud that they got it done.” – ExEC Curriculum Professor
This class is the ultimate combination of engagement and skill-building as the students navigate each task. On the lesson plan page, you can view an example of a video students created based on actual customer problems in about 20 minutes.
After this class, your students will understand:
- The true meaning of Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
- It’s easier to launch a product than they assume
- Launching a product lays the foundation for their entire business
Bonus: The Power of Customer Observations
In addition to teaching customer interviewing techniques, we developed a Teaching Customer Observations lesson plan because it helps solidify the student’s understanding of the importance of understanding their customer’s problems. In this lesson plan, students experience first-hand the value of seeing how their customers experience problems rather than just imagining certain scenarios.
The goal of this lesson is to teach students to have a clear picture of their customer’s problems before they try to come up with a solution.
After this class, students will understand
- The value of observing customer behavior rather than trying to predict it
- How to listen with their eyes to improve empathy for what their customers value and care about
In addition to the positive feedback we’ve received from the community using this exercise,
this lesson won first place in the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Exercises Awards at the USASBE 2019 Annual Conference!
Want an Experiential + Structured Curriculum?
If you’re looking for a comprehensive, tested, experiential entrepreneurship curriculum to use next semester, that fully engages your students, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel.
Check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum and we’ll get you set up!
Get our Next Free Lesson Plan
We email new experiential entrepreneurship lesson plans regularly.
Subscribe here to get our next lesson plan in your inbox!