An Evaluation of Experiential Learning Strategies for an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp: The Case of the National Entrepreneurship Development Company and the University of the West Indies

An Evaluation of Experiential Learning Strategies for an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp: The Case of the National Entrepreneurship Development Company and the University of the West Indies

Natasha Ramkissoon-Babwah (Faculty of Social Sciences Department of Management Studies, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago)
DOI: 10.4018/IJAVET.2018100104

Abstract

There has been a global movement to support the creation of sustainable business enterprises via entrepreneurial activity. To encourage the growth and supply of entrepreneurs, training programmes have been designed to deliver knowledge at various stages along the entrepreneurship continuum. The pedagogical approaches of experiential education has been making its way into the delivery of entrepreneurship education programmes as a unique variable in programme implementation. This research article investigated the impact of the deployment of experiential learning into the delivery of an Entrepreneurship Boot Camp. It was revealed that the experiential techniques made a positive impact on the delivery of the curriculum and it was recommended that future Camps adopt a customized approach by an entrepreneurial assessment at the application process, the provision of mentoring services, a post after care support programme including an agency referral system and an expansion of the programme into the Secondary School system
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Review Of Experiential Learning

Most scholars agree that experiential learning means learning from experience or learning by doing. It implies a practical experience within the learning process. The first step in experiential education immerses adult learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking. The research of Wurdinger, and Carlson (2010) also explains that Experiential learning is any learning that supports students in applying their knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems or authentic situations where the instructor directs and facilitates learning.

The research studies of Carver (1996) further outlines that experiential education is a learning strategy that makes conscious application of the students' experiences by integrating them into the curriculum. The framework of these experiences encompasses any configuration of senses (such as, touch, smell, hearing, sight, taste), emotions (for example excitement, anxiety, fear, hurt, empathy), physical condition (e.g., temperature, strength, energy level), and cognition (e.g., constructing knowledge, solving problems). Experiential education can be viewed as a holistic strategy because it embraces students in their entirety - as thinking, feeling, physical, emotional, spiritual, and social beings.

There have been many terms utilized to label the process of learning from experience. Dewey (1938) created the term “learning by doing,” and contends that in order for education to be progressive there has to be an experiential component to the lesson. He argues that by focusing only on content, the teacher eliminates the opportunity for students to develop their own thoughts of concepts based on interaction with the information. He also suggests that each student’s experience will be individualized based on past experiences, and not all students will develop the same outlook of the concept. Thus, the experiential learning classroom mimics society, where all people have different views of topics and information and provides a richer learning experiences for students. According to the Association of Experiential Education (2014) the core components of experiential educational principles are as follows:

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