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Teaching Entrepreneurship Online in Fall?

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online in Fall?

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into the “new normal”, your bookstore will soon be contacting you.

What are you going to do about Fall?

Assume You’re Teaching Online in Fall

Most of us want to get back to in-person teaching in Fall. Realistically, that may not happen:

  • This season, the US may lose more lives to COVID-19 than WWI (source)
  • The virus is expected to return in Fall (source)
  • A vaccine won’t be available for Fall (source)
  • Social distancing appears to be our best bet (source)

Given the devastating effects of the virus, and the likelihood of returning, It’s hard to see how it makes sense for schools to invite students back into dorms and classrooms in Fall.

Even if we’re able to start classes in-person, we’ll all need plans to quickly transition our class online if necessary. 

So how do you prep a class hoping it’ll be in-person, but assuming it’ll be online while knowing that…

Engagement is Harder Online

Let’s not kid ourselves…

Student engagement was a challenge before COVID-19.

But now that students are taking classes from home (i.e. bed), can attend class while watching Netflix, and know that we can’t be in every breakout room simultaneously, it’s an even bigger challenge.

Fortunately, there’s a way to prep for fall that will…

Engage Your Students: Online or In-Person

Lecture and quiz-based classes won’t cut it (they’re the antithesis of engagement), and it’s near impossible to structure a rigorous online class if you’re mixing and matching exercises from around the web.

If you want an engaging approach you can use online or in-person and don’t want to spend all summer building it.

Consider trying ExEC this Fall.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

We’ve been developing ExEC, the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum, for the last 5 years and so far it’s…

…while producing outstanding student evaluations

Online or In-Person

There are two versions of ExEC: one we’ve optimized for teaching in-person, and the other which we’ve optimized for teaching online and, especially relevant this Fall…

You can seamlessly transition between the two, even mid-term.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

We’ve spent years testing and improving a structured set of exercises that we know teach entrepreneurial skills in an engaging way – online or in-person.

Don’t spend your summer recording lectures or compiling exercises from around the web. Make the most of your break, and your Fall, by using a set of rigorous, cohesive lessons your students will engage with.

This Fall, Try ExEC…

Whatever path you take this Fall, we wish you and your students the very best, and are happy to offer any help we can.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

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Teaching Entrepreneurship Online: 5 Common Mistakes (and how to Avoid Them)

Teaching Entrepreneurship Online: 5 Common Mistakes (and how to Avoid Them)

Successful Online Classes

As many of us transition our classes online, growing pains will abound. We wanted to provide a quick summary of the most common pitfalls you’re likely to run into so you know how to avoid them.

5 Online Teaching Mistakes to Avoid


Mistake #1: Weekly assignments

If you have weekly assignments, in other words just one touchpoint per week where students are expected to turn something in, you’re inviting time management challenges for your students. This can be especially true if students are new to taking online classes; they’re not used to planning out their weekly schedule around finishing assignments. Couple that with other work and class commitments and in all likelihood, they will wait until the last minute to get their work finished.

Solution: Multiple touch points each week.

When transitioning our own in-person curriculum online, we’ve found it helps set our students up for success by having at least 2 touchpoints per week. For example, we have assignments due on Tuesday and Thursday. Alternatively, you can set up your course so that assignments are due Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Whatever you decide, break up the assignments into smaller chunks to help avoid any time management problems your students may have. This will help keep them on track and reduce their tendency to cram.


Mistake #2: Not Using Groups

We often hear from professors who teach online that they don’t feel as connected to their students, or they worry their students don’t feel connected to them. Additionally, we’ve heard from students that they don’t feel connected to other students when taking an online class. 

If you’re avoiding group work because you’re teaching online, you’re missing an effective tool for fostering a connection between your students. 

Group work can seem daunting to set up, assess and grade online, but it doesn’t have to be. And since group work is a powerful tool to combat disconnection in an online classroom, it’s worth the effort. Here are a few of our proven methods for creating a successful group.

1) Reflection Groups

Reflection Groups are small groups of students (3-4), who meet up “face-to-face” online via Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc. to reflect on individual experiences they’ve had during the class. This provides an explicit opportunity to reflect, and take notes about their reflections, with peers from the class, helps drive student thinking deeper. It also helps them connect with other people in their class and fosters a more profound connection since it provides space for them to share their reflections of their experience, rather than simply sharing right/wrong answers.

For example, in our classes students meet with their reflection groups to discuss:

  • Their fears and curiosities about life after graduation
  • The biggest failures they’ve encountered in their lives so far, and what they’ve learned from them
  • Successes and struggles they’ve had with individual assignments

Creating groups isn’t difficult. All Learning Management Systems (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Moodle, Brightspace, etc.) have functionality for creating student. While technology like Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, and Skype make it really easy for students to meetup. This makes it simple to leverage group work and increase your student’s feeling of connection.

What can feel a little more daunting about online groups is grading/assessment. Here’s how to tackle that: 

2) Team Work + Individual (Video) Reflections

Have the students complete their exercises together, but have them turn in individual reflections. 

In our classes, we encourage students to work together but require each student to submit their own video-based reflections on the work they’ve done. These videos (which we limit to 1 – 3 minutes), speed up the assessment process, cutting down on overall assessment time while ensuring each student is developing their own skills.


Mistake #3: Not Using Webcams

Webcams establish an instant face-to-face connection which is incredibly helpful in establishing a connection with your students. We recommend, whenever possible, using your own webcam, and to encourage your students to use webcams themselves. 

When we ask for student submissions, we have them use a tool called Loom, which is an easy-to-use browser extension which allows students to simply record their screen and capture their webcam at the same time. We’ve used Loom thousands of students and have had great results.

Loom lets you see your students (establishing a connection) and gives you a real insight into what they’ve been working on. We’ve found this is an invaluable tool in discovering how well they understand the concepts being taught in class. It also leads to a deeper level of understanding of the material because students will need to be able to write about the subject as well as talk about it concisely. We do recommend setting time guidelines for the videos. For example, we have students make videos 2-3 minutes long. This reduces the amount of time needed to go through the videos.


Mistake #4: “Read and Regurgitate” Discussion Boards

Typically, discussion boards are used as a way to ensure students complete some reading by asking students to reflect on what they’ve read, and possibly comment on another student’s post. Most of the time, this leads to students simply summarizing what they read and writing similar comments on fellow students’ posts. Unfortunately, this doesn’t lead to a lot of in-depth discussion or reflection. 

Discussion boards are optimal when people are presenting diverse viewpoints as opposed to all reflecting similar ideas. 

We recommend using discussion boards for personal reflections. For example, instead of asking students to go through an experience and describe what the experience was, have them talk about their personal challenges that came up with the experience. Ask what they learned most as a result of the experience. How are they going to apply that skill going forward?

Making personal comments creates a connected feeling in the class as students read other people’s responses. They get to know each other better and you get a sense of if they’re really understanding what you want them to take away from the material.

Discussion boards can also be used for students to pitch business ideas. You can even have students form teams around pitch ideas. Any experience you can create where students are leveraging different ideas is a great place to use discussion boards.


Mistake #5: “Class-Based” Thinking

It’s hard enough to create an engaging classroom in-person. Going online can feel even more daunting because we don’t have the opportunity for real-time interaction with students.

That said, there’s a little-known benefit to teaching online that can be used to create extremely engaging experiences.

When teaching in-person classes, it’s normal to have your thinking centered on “classes.” Whether a 75-minute class, 90-minute class, etc., we know that we have X-amount of things we want to cover in that amount of time. However, an online class doesn’t have the same time constraints.

We have found that it’s helpful to shift from a “class” structure to focus on creating “ah-ha” experiences for our students. Start by thinking about the ah-ha moments you have in your in-person classes and write out all of the interactions you have with your students that lead up to that moment. Then start translating each of those interactions online. Once you start thinking on an “interaction” level, as opposed to a “class” level, it’s much easier to… 

Structure your course around creating “ah-ha” experiences.

As we created the online version of our in-person curriculum, we’ve had to tease out the interactive moments between instructor and students and rethink the time frame of these interactions. For example, in an in-person class, the professor can provide a prompt and the students respond in real-time and the entire lesson may only take 30 minutes. Online, this same lesson may span two weeks as the professor provides a prompt, awaits student responses, provides counter-discussion or reflection, etc. While this takes longer calendar-wise, we have found it is possible to create just as engaging of an experience for online students as we have in-person, by focusing primarily on these interactions.

For example, in the first class of our curriculum, we have students write out on post-it notes their fears and curiosities after they graduate. We then have them share their fears and curiosities with someone sitting next to them. We then create post-it note clouds around common themes they share. Then our instructors take those common challenges and map them into their syllabus. Some common fears are:

  • How am I going to find a job?
  • Is my job going to pay enough?
  • Am I going to like my job?

Professors then take these common problems or themes and point towards the places in the syllabus that will help address them. Students then realize, “Oh, even if I don’t want to be an entrepreneur, here’s what I’m going to get out of this class or entrepreneurial skills.” This whole process takes roughly 30 minutes in-person. 

The online version, on the other hand, is more drawn out. First students fill out a survey that says “here are my fears and curiosities.” Then they utilize the aforementioned reflection groups where they’ll talk about their challenges. Then the instructor takes the survey results and makes a video response connecting the dots between their students’ challenges, and their syllabus. So, the interaction takes longer in terms of calendar time but creates the same “ah-ha” moment as students realize the value entrepreneurship skills can have on their lives, even if they don’t see themselves becoming entrepreneurs. 

Takeaways

Transitioning to teaching online can be challenging, but it can also be extremely effective. If you want to make sure your students:

  • Avoid cramming
  • Feel connected to you and your other students
  • Engage fully in your class

We recommend:

  1. Having multiple touch points per week
  2. Group assignments w/ individual reflections
  3. Everyone record videos with webcams
  4. Use discussion boards for personal reflections
  5. Replicate your interactions, not your classes, online

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If you have any suggestions to fix the mistakes above or want to recommend any mistakes we missed, please let us know!

In the meantime… 

We Need Your Questions!

During this time of uncertainty, we want to hear what challenges you’re running into, and questions you have. We’re eager to experiment with ways to serve the teaching community, but like good innovators, we want to make sure we’re solving real problems.

What's Your Biggest Teaching Challenge?

In my role as USASBE President-elect, I’m hosting a USASBE Virtual Town Hall on March 25th, where we’ll discuss your challenges in detail. Answering the question above, or clicking the image below, will register you for the discussion, and make sure you get the recording afterward.

United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Town Hall Discussion of Entrepreneurship Education

Register Here for the USASBE Town Hall

Our Curriculum

If you’re looking for a structured, comprehensive, and engaging experiential entrepreneurship curriculum you can run with your students in person, or online, check out the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum.

Used at more than 80 colleges and universities, ExEC helps students feel connected with you, and one another, while they learn practical entrepreneurial skills regardless of their career path.

Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum Logo

 

Tech Tools to Increase Engagement

Tech Tools to Increase Engagement

It’s no question: technology is shaping how or students engage (or don’t) with us.

From the apps nagging our students for attention during class to the learning management systems (Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, etc.) we and our students are asked to wrestle with, technology is absolutely altering how we interact with our students.

That said, when leveraged the right way,

Technology can be a way to increase engagement in the classroom.

In this post, we share some of our favorite tech tools you can use to flip the script on technology and use it to re-engage your students.

Active Learning vs Passive Listening

The first thing to know is that lectures are the antithesis of engagement. If your class is full of:

  • Glazed eyes
  • Distracted fidgeting
  • Lethargic discussions

Remember that it’s not that disengaged students don’t like to learn, the truth is most students love learning. They just hate listening.

Ask yourself, what do Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix all have in common? They are all visual-based technologies that our students have grown up with and spend far more time “learning from” than they do lectures.

Now ask yourself, are your bullet points genuinely more compelling than their latest Instagram story?

If the answer is no, the next question to answer is:

How do you create an active learning experience for your students?

If you’re looking to shift from a “sage on the stage” class to an active learning environment, Kahoot! is a great tool to use.

How to Leverage Kahoot! In Your Entrepreneurship Lesson

Gamification is a great way to increase engagement in class. Using technology like Kahoot! you can create multiple-choice competitions that foster engagement or as an assessment tool. 

Here’s what we love about Kahoot! in the classroom:

  • Produces real-time competition 
  • Encourages instant collaboration
  • Boosts energy with a real-time leader board that students love seeing their names on
  • Inspires discussion among all students

Kahoot! works by showing students a series of multiple-choice questions on your projector and each student (or team of students) uses their smartphone to quickly answer each question. Teams are awarded points for correct answers, and the faster they answer, the more points they get and after each question, they can see how well their team is doing compared to other teams in the class.

If you want to easily try Kahoot!, we’ve actually integrated it into our free Customer Interviewing Cards Exercise. This lesson plan was presented at USASBE 2020 and teaches valuable customer discovery skills.

Give it a shot and you’ll not only teach your students what questions to ask (and questions avoid) during customer interviews, you’ll do it in an engaging way with full class participation.

Nothing Compares to Learning by Doing

Another way to engage students is to have them teach themselves by creating a “learn by doing” experience. For example, if you want to teach students about the power of Minimum Viable Products (MVPs), why not use Wix and Powtoon to have your students create their own during class?

Wix: Launch Websites (No Student Experience Required)

Wix is a free and user-friendly website creator. Some of the features we’ve found helpful when using in our lesson plans include:

  • Drag and drop editing
  • Pre-built templates
  • No technical skills required

Powtoon: Your Students Can Create Explainer Videos

Powtoon is an incredibly useful tool to make simple explainer videos fast. Here are some of the features that make Powtoon a useful teaching tool:

  • Wide-variety of templates
  • Change elements with a simple click
  • Animate a video in minutes

While you can plan an entrepreneurial lesson using Wix and Powtoon, we’ve found they can be combined for a powerful lesson. You can try our 60-Minute MVP this semester to introduce your students to Wix and Powtoon so they can see how quickly and easily they can start testing demand for new products, even if they have no tech or video editing skills.

This lesson plan was a finalist in the USASBE 3E competition, and it’s one of the most popular on our site. We hope you give it a shot – not only will it use technology to teach your students new skills, they’ll be completely engaged while they do it.

Design an App Prototype Without Technical Skills

So many of our students want to build apps, but most of them will lack the technical skills to even prototype their apps. Marvel changes that. 

Marvel is an easy to use app that lets your students quickly prototype their app designs by first drawing them on paper, and then simply taking pictures of their designs with their phone, but that’s not all!

Here are some of the exciting features you can leverage in the classroom:

  • Design easily with Marvel’s UI builder
  • Perform usability testing with a simple link
  • Get customer/usability feedback immediately

Marvel is free to use and is perfect to encourage design thinking and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. We created our Marvel App Lesson Plan below to introduce you to this new entrepreneurial teaching tool.

 

Click Here for Our Marvel App Lesson Plan

 

 

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.

 

 

 

Incorporate Technology in Your Entrepreneurship Class

When used well, technology can transform your classroom into an experiential, fully-engaged experience for your students. If you’d like to learn more about the technologies we use in our entrepreneurship lesson plans, click to learn more. We hope that it supports the work you do in the classroom, and if you and your students enjoy, check out the full Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC).

Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

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Think, Pair, Share: More Engaging Class Discussions

Think, Pair, Share: More Engaging Class Discussions

Does getting your students to participate in class discussions feel like pulling teeth? Have you ever struggled leading a class discussion?

entrepreneurship lesson plans

We’ve discussed before how to inspire the entrepreneurial mindset in your students but most of us struggle with engaging all of their students, especially during in-class discussions.

Some students are naturally involved in classroom discussions, while for others, the call for participation can lead to dropped gazes, hunched postures, and impenetrable silence. Why?

Students don’t feel safe.

We’ve all been in group situations where we’ve been called to participate and we are reluctant to share. Think about the last conference you attended, where the presenter asked for volunteers. Or the last meeting you attended where you were asked to share your thoughts.

Just like us, our students sometimes don’t feel confident that what they have to share will benefit the class or worry about how they will be perceived. When that happens, the glassy stares and stony faces of our students can leave us feeling frustrated and disheartened. Not only that, but without a game plan, a few disengaged students can hinder the engagement for our entire classroom.

With the Think, Pair, Share process, we’ll show you how to bypass what stops your students from participating and deepen their commitment to showing up 100% in your course. Specifically, we’ll help you flip the script on how you facilitate discussions, so students feel confident and safe participating in your discussion. This results in a livelier classroom. 

entrepreneurial lesson plans

3 Steps to Lively Class Discussions

An engaged discussion with your students starts with you as the instructor and how well you prepare to promote the exchange of diverse ideas. Imagine you want to have a discussion where students come up with a business to start on campus or to discuss last night’s reading.

If you start off your discussion with a generic question about the main takeaway from the reading, you’ll likely have your usual suspects raise their hands to share their thoughts. The rest of your class may keep their heads down hoping you won’t call on them. Instead of just jumping into a group discussion, try this 3-step process and see how it improves the engagement of your entire class.

Step 1: Think

Rather than announcing that you’d like your class to discuss a topic, you’ll start by telling your students you’d like them to reflect on what they read last night. For example, ask them to come up with 1-2 takeaways from last night’s reading and write them down. Tell them you will give them 1-2 minutes to think about this.

Tell the students they are going to have a specified amount of time to reflect on the topic for discussion and encourage them to write down their thoughts. 

It’s important to keep this reflection time quiet and discourage any conversation so each student has a chance to reflect on their own.

Step 2: Pair

Once you’ve given the students adequate time to reflect and organize their thoughts on the topic, connect them with a partner give them 2-3 minutes each to share their thoughts. 

The Pair step is fundamental to the process’ success because:

  1. Sharing with a partner is less intimidating than speaking in front of the entire class.
  2. It gives the students practice putting their ideas into words and clarify their thoughts.
  3. It gives the students validation as they discover what they have to say is well-received and makes sense to someone else.
  4. (BONUS) As soon as you’ve created your pairs, you’ll notice that your entire class is instantly engaged.
Make sure the students understand how much time each of them will have to share their ideas and remind them to switch roles halfway through.

Step 3: Share

Now that your students have finished with their partner, it’s time for the main event. In this step, you’ll find that your students feel safer participating with the entire class because they’ve practiced sharing their thoughts which were validated by their partner. In addition to sharing their own ideas, they may be inspired to share their partner’s thoughts.

Invite the students to share their thoughts on the subject with the entire class. There are a few sharing options that you can utilize, depending on what feels right for you and the energy of your class:

  • Ask them to raise their hands to share their thoughts
  • Invite them to spontaneously shout out their thoughts, sometimes with leading questions (à la popcorn style)
  • Use technology like a mindmapping tool to organize their different ideas
A sharing option for one class may not work for another. It’s important to practice different sharing options to find what will work best for a specific class.

Key Takeaways

Because students are given space to ease into discussions with this process, you’ll find that the majority of your students will begin to participate easily and quickly.

Through these steps, students will gain clarity and confidence in expressing their ideas on any given topic. Use this technique not just for discussion-leading, but for:

  • Coming up with business ideas
  • Brainstorming solutions for problems
  • Discussing why some solutions fail and some don’t
Anytime you want your students to share thoughts, use Think, Pair, Share to boost student engagement. 

This will also help them prepare for speaking and presenting beyond the classroom and into a workplace setting. 

As the instructor, you’ll get more engaged students and lively classroom discussions.

Get the “Think, Pair, Share” Worksheet

We’ve created a detailed “Think, Pair, Share” worksheet. This exercise walks you through the process of facilitating a successful group discussion step-by-step and gives you the tools to assess and evaluate what works well for any particular class.

Get the Worksheet

 

It’s free for any/all entrepreneurship teachers, so you’re welcome to share it.

We’ve incorporated Think, Pair, Share into several of the exercises that are in our fully experiential curriculum. If you’d like to see how Think, Pair, Share is leveraged in a structured lesson, click to learn more.

Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

    Back to Back Winners at USASBE 2020

    Back to Back Winners at USASBE 2020

    At this year’s USASBE conference, we were incredibly humbled to win the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Exercises Awards again, this time with our Lottery Ticket Dilemma lesson plan!

    Winning the 3E competition is the highest achievement an entrepreneurship exercise designer can win – we like to think of it as the Super Bowl for entrepreneurial pedagogy nerds (that’s us!).

    We were privileged to have 4 out of the 10 exercises selected for the awards, including our popular 60 Minute MVP lesson plan which was a finalist and has recently been published in the Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy Journal. Slides for all of these lessons are available below.

    One of our founders, Doan Winkel, became President-Elect of USASBE. We look forward to his leadership of this great organization.
    Educational Materials

    In addition to our annual happy hour, we hosted our first-ever Innovator’s dinner.

    Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

    This definitely was our favorite conference yet. USASBE gives us a space to share and learn. We came away from the conference reinvigorated to continue improving our product to provide you and your students even more value.

    This year we:

    • Hosted our annual happy hour and first Innovator’s dinner
    • Ran six sessions, featuring experiential entrepreneurship exercises from our ExEC curriculum
    • And the pièce de résistance…
    We won the Excellence in Entrepreneurial Exercises (3E) competition again!
    Teaching Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans
    Winning this award has validated we are on the right track when it comes to creating truly innovative entrepreneurship programs.

    After winning the 3E competition, we were delighted to join our fellow educators at the USASBE Gala.

    Thanks to your engagement in our events, we had a fantastic conversation that covered:

    • what we wish for our students and entrepreneurship education as a whole,
    • what we wish for ourselves as entrepreneurship educators,
    • the barriers to creating engaging curriculum
    • how to make entrepreneurial skills accessible to all students

    We had a wonderful time hosting happy hour as well as our inaugural Innovator’s dinner on Friday night. It was wonderful connect with other educator’s with an aligned vision and we enjoyed demoing our financial simulator:

    Education Lesson Plans
    Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

    As always, thank you for supporting us, challenging us, and for sharing our passion for engaging students everywhere.

    New Orleans was an amazing host, but we’re already planning for next year’s USASBE conference in Los Angeles. We hope you join us!

    Entrepreneurship Education Online
    If you want access to our slides from USASBE, you can access them here.
    Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans
    2019 Most Popular Lesson Plans

    2019 Most Popular Lesson Plans

    “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.

    Student Idea Generation Lesson

    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

    View Idea Generation Lesson Plan

    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

    Get the “How to Interview Customers” Lesson Plan

    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.
    Identifying Early Adopters 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.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAcSLvRGb-o&feature=youtu.be

    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?

    View the Finding Early Adopters Lesson Plan

    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.

    Popular Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans
    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

    View the “Coach Your Students” Lesson Plan

    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
    Minimum Viable Product Experiential Exercise

    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

    View 60 Minute MVP Lesson Plan

    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.

    Customer Observations Lesson Plan

    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!

    View Teaching Customer Observations Lesson Plan

    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!

    Entrepreneurship Lesson Plans

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