A Modern Alternative to Textbooks
If there’s one thing we know about textbooks, it’s that . . .
Students dislike them.
Too out of date to be relevant, too boring to be worth reading, and too expensive to be worth buying, textbooks aren’t the best way to teach entrepreneurship skills (or engage students).
To engage a generation of students who have grown up in a digital media environment, what’s needed is a way to . . .
Meet Students Where They Are
Textbooks can’t compete with the dynamic, personalized spaces our students are used to.
Can you blame students for not being motivated to read a “riveting” chapter on entity formation when Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu all have queues of personally recommended shows vying for them to watch (not to mention curated profiles from Instagram, TikTok, and Tinder to check out)?
What if instead of having to use quizzes to compel our students to read bland, out-of-date textbooks, we produced content that was more personalized and engaging than the Netflix’s of the world?
This Spring, we’ll take a step in that direction. Starting in January, your students can have . . .
Personalized entrepreneurship experiences, online.
In a major update to the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC), students will be able to personally define and customize their entrepreneurial experiences.
A Student-Led Experience
With the new ExEC experience, students customize the content to suit their interests.
Unlike the “read-only” experience students get with textbooks, with the new ExEC, students literally edit the content based on their interests and business models.
The process starts with . . .
1. Identifying “Their” Customers
One of the most powerful ways to engage students is to make your course more about them than the subject you’re teaching. In other words . . .
What if instead of teaching an entrepreneurship class that may one day help your students pursue their passions, you taught a course on pursuing their passion – that happened to leverage entrepreneurship skills?
You’d cover the same content, but by prioritizing your students’ motivations, you automatically make the content more engaging.
That’s precisely what the new ExEC experience does.
Asking students questions about their interests and skills, and the people they’re most passionate about serving, students literally update their reading material to reflect the customers they’re most excited to serve:
At this early stage of the class, when the #1 goal is to engage students . . .
Who their customers are isn’t as important as how excited they are to serve them.
The students will find out for themselves whether their segment is a part of the business model validation process. Our job right now is to help the students find a set of customers they’re eager to go through the validation process with.
Soon, the students will start interviewing their customers, but in order to do that, they need to discover. . .
2. Where Are Their Customers?
You can’t interview a customer unless you can find them, so ExEC uses interactive prompts to guide students through a process that’s customized for their customer segment.
The results of which are a specific, actionable “channel” to use to find customers to interview:
In preparation for their interviews, students are ready to discover . . .
3. Good (and Bad) Customer Interviewing Questions
Using an interactive card game, students discover the right and wrong questions to ask during their customer interviews:
After completing a round of 5 interviews, students are ready to . . .
4. Analyze Their interviews
As students read through the theory of interview analysis, they plug in responses from their actual conversations with customers to discover how the theory is applied in the real world.
After having a thorough understanding of the problems their customers are trying to solve, students are ready for . . .
5. Solution Ideation
Using design thinking and creative problem-solving techniques, students ideate dozens of ways to resolve the problems they discovered during their customer interviews.
After which they’re ready for . . .
6. Financial Modeling
To understand how to build a profitable solution to the problem they’ve discovered, students use real-world data in ExEC’s Financial Projection Simulator; iterating their business model until they know it’s financially sustainable.
All of which contributes to their . . .
7. Business Model Canvas
Capturing all of the hypotheses they’ve validated (and the hypotheses still in need of validation) students edit the ExEC content to reflect their business model throughout the course.
All of which culminates in their . . .
8. Process Pitch
Best of all, while they’ve been updating their content to reflect their experience . . .
Students have simultaneously been developing their end-of-the-term pitch deck!
Every step of their journey – every failed experiment, every validated hypothesis, every business model iteration – is automatically recorded and turned into a “Process Pitch Deck” students can use to present their understanding of the business model validation process and how they applied it.
More important than the outcome of any single experiment, or grade on any one assignment, is helping students learn an entrepreneurial mindset – a process they can use repeatedly to solve problems of the people they want to serve.
See It In Action
Watch the video to see how even ExEC’s readings are interactive and experiential:
A Better Way to Teach Entrepreneurship
We all know . . .
Textbooks aren’t the best way to teach entrepreneurship.
Personalized, interactive content is what makes Netflix, Instagram, and every other platform our students use so engaging. The same principles work in educational content too.