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:

improve lesson plan

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

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Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit

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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 TeachingEntrepreneurship.org Summer Summit and about tools and methods to increase student engagement.

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Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit Summer 2023

Teaching Entrepreneurship AI Summit Summer 2023


The Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit is back with . . .

4 AI Workshops for Educators!

With new AI tools coming out every day, it’s hard to know which ones are useful for teaching.

In this special AI summit, you’ll:

  • Get up to speed on AI in education
  • Get several fun exercises to show your students the power of AI
  • Discover how to avoid AI plagiarism
  • Learn how AI can save you endless time (e.g. faster assessment)

Register Here


Learn Best Practices For Leveraging AI

The Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit will help you make the most of AI.

Register now so you don’t miss it!

Each session will run from 1:00 – 2:30 pm Eastern on their respective days but if you can’t join us live, recordings are available for purchase.


Tuesday, May 9th

AI Demystified: A Guide for Entrepreneurship Educators

Exercises to introduce your students (and yourself) to AI:

  • What are the best AI tools for entrepreneurship classes?
  • How can AI improve students’ business ideas?
  • How can AI make assessment faster?
  • How do you mitigate concerns about AI in the classroom?

Tuesday, May 16th

Using AI to Teach Customer Interviewing

The pandemic only exacerbated students’ customer interviewing anxiety.

In this session you’ll learn AI-powered exercises to help your students:

  • Find the right customers to interview
  • Learn the best questions to ask
  • Practice customer interviews with an AI “chat coach”

. . . all of which will build their interviewing confidence!


Tuesday, May 23rd

Teaching AI-Enabled Financial Modeling

Blow your students’ minds when you show them how easy it is to make robust financial models with the help of AI.

During this workshop you’ll get exercises to help your students:

  • Understand financial concepts
  • Develop accurate financial models
  • Learn how to validate those models in the real world

Tuesday, May 30th

AI Tools to Build Better MVPs 

Your students will be able to test demand for their products and services faster than ever with AI tools to help them:

  • Launch professional MVPs in minutes (no coding required)
  • Write amazing marketing copy
  • Generate powerful imagery for their MVPs, ads, and videos (no design experience required)

Register Here


Early Bird Tickets Available

We know budgets are tight right now so we’re offering a “Live Access Only” ticket free of charge.

Plus: Full Access tickets, which include recordings, slides, and a certificate of participation are $100 off before April 28th.

BONUS: We’re a team of experienced engineers, educators, and entrepreneurs with decades of combined experience. We know AI can be intimidating, so we’ve done the work sifting through what’s out there and what’s worth it.

Exclusive to Full Access ticket holders, join us for an “Ask Us Anything” session where we’ll help you tackle any challenge you have in your entrepreneurship class – AI-related or otherwise.

Register here so you don’t miss the AI Summer 2023 Summit!

Register Here

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, “My ChatGPT Cofounder”! 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:

The Demo

Get the “My ChatGPT Cofounder” Lesson Plan

We’ve created a detailed lesson plan for the 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.

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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:

 

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

Subscribe here to get the next post delivered in your inbox.

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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, being sure to teach them a real-world entrepreneurial skill on day one.

 

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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Teaching Tools in Entrepreneurship Classrooms

Teaching Tools in Entrepreneurship Classrooms

With so many tools out there to teach entrepreneurship . . .

Do you want to know which tools other instructors are using, and why?

We’re sending this survey to our community of 12,000+ entrepreneurship educators to discover which teaching tools are the most popular.

And so that all of us benefit, we’ll be sharing the results of the survey with anyone who completes it.

So if you’d like to know which teaching tools are most popular for entrepreneurship education, just answer these very quick questions (~3 min) and we’ll share what we discover with you.

Which teaching tools do you consistently use?

Business Model Canvas

Lean Canvas

Business Plans

Show More

Please fill out the survey by Friday, Feb. 10th to get the full results.

Click Here for the ~3 Min Survey

 


What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans, slides, videos, and 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.
  • 2022 Top Lesson Plans. Here is the list of our 2022 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.
Diverse Entrepreneurs

Diverse Entrepreneurs

Many of our students don’t see themselves mirrored in the entrepreneurship videos, guests, and case studies we use.

But what if we created a set of resources and best practices to show ALL our students who they can become?

If you’d like to help create, and have access to, a set of diverse entrepreneurs examples and success stories that highlight under-represented groups, then please click the button below.

Learn More

We want to highlight successful and traditionally under-represented entrepreneurs so students see a wide range of…

  • Races
  • Genders
  • LGBTQ+ identities and
  • Neurodivergent identities

…throughout their coursework.

Learn More

Want to ensure this project succeeds? We’re looking for educators who can help with any of the following:

  • Share success stories you have of under-represented entrepreneurs
  • Research new success stories
  • Finally, share any research or best practices you have for supporting under-represented entrepreneurs

Overall, if you’d like to contribute to the project and get access to the diverse set of examples and success stories we produce, please join us.

Learn More

 


What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans, slides, videos, and exercises to engage your students.

So, 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.
Recordings, Slides & Lessons from USASBE

Recordings, Slides & Lessons from USASBE

Wow, USASBE was amazing this year!

Below you’ll find the slides, lesson plans, and where available, recordings from our presentations.

But first, we wanted to say thank you for such a fantastic conference and share some of our highlights:

HAPPY HOUR MILKSHAKES

Milkshakes at USASBE

MEETING SUMMIT FACILITATORS (IN REAL LIFE)

Twice a year we host the Teaching Entrepreneurship Summit showcasing the best entrepreneurship exercises we can find, but we couldn’t do it without an outstanding cohort of facilitators.

Teaching Entrepreneurship facilitators at USASBE

Renee Just, Kelly Reardon-Sleicher, and Krystal Geyer (left to right) are some of our best and most devoted facilitators. It was wonderful meeting them in person (and seeing the real-world “backpack” Kelly created for Krystal based on their Backpack Design Challenge experience)!

DOAN NAMED A JUSTIN G. LONGENECKER FELLOW

So, this award gives special recognition to the people whose outstanding passion for entrepreneurship is reflected in their teaching, writing, research, training, and public service.

Doan Winkel named a Longenecker Fellow at USASBE

Doan is one of only 85 people to be selected as a Longenecker Fellow over the last 36 years and we can’t thank him enough for his contribution to entrepreneurship education.

MAKING THE 3E PODIUM

This year’s exercises were the best we’d ever seen at USASBE.

Federico Mammano, Justin Wilcox, Doan Winkel - 3E Podium 2023

Considering the level of competition among the Entrepreneurship Experiential Exercises (3E), we were ecstatic, and honored, that the Financial Modeling Showdown got recognized!

This continues our streak:

FEDERICO BOWLING FOR THE FIRST TIME

Bowling at USASBE
                  That face says it all 🙂

Overall, we came away from the conference reinvigorated and recommitted to providing the best entrepreneurship education resources we can!

Speaking of which, here are all of our resources from USASBE:

SLIDES, LESSON PLANS, AND RECORDINGS

TeachingEntrepreneurship.org logo +

Get Slides, Lesson Plans, and Exercises

Includes resources from all 5 of our sessions:

  1. Marketing MVPs: Testing Demand on Social Media
  2. Making Finance Fun: The Financial Modeling Showdown
  3. Revenue Model Card Game
  4. Backpack Design Challenge: Intro to Design Thinking
  5. What is Your “F” Problem?

Just enter your email in the box above.

What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans, quick slides, and a variety of other resources to keep your students engaged!

Subscribe here to get our next classroom resource in your inbox.

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Inspirational Videos: Steve Jobs

Inspirational Videos: Steve Jobs

Has a guest speaker ever said something to your class you had already taught, but your students seemed to believe it more from them?

It’s not because students don’t listen. It’s because when an outsider reinforces something we say, it feels more important.

This is one of the reasons guest speakers are great, but they can be hard to schedule for every lesson. So for any lesson you really want to drive home, you can try using a video as a validating external voice.

Here are some videos of Steve Jobs that you can use in conjunction with lessons on growth mindset, marketing, and pricing:

“If you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far.”

This is a fantastic video to reinforce the Failure Resume lesson. This exercise is a favorite among students and helps them develop growth mindset skills, especially when they’re endorsed by someone like Steve Jobs.

Get the Failure Resume

The Crazy Ones

This video, where Steve talks about why the best ads barely talk about the product at all, is a great compliment to the Lottery Ticket Dilemma. This lesson helps students understand the persuasive power of emotions and was the winner of USASBE’s 3E competition.

Get the Lottery Ticket Dilemma

A Pricing Masterclass

This video is an amazing example of Steve’s reality distortion field. Your students can see him convince a crowd that the iPad (a larger but less capable iPhone) was a steal at 250% the price of an iPhone because…it’s more like a laptop than a phone?!

You can use this video in conjunction with the Financial Modeling Showdown to demonstrate that the optimal price of a product isn’t determined by its cost of goods sold, it’s determined by what customers are willing to pay for it.

Get the Financial Modeling Showdown


What’s Next?

In upcoming posts, we will share lesson plans, quick slides, and a variety of other resources to keep your students engaged!

Subscribe here to get our next classroom resource in your inbox.

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