Education Research International

Entrepreneurship Education with Impact: Opening the Black Box


Lead Editor

1Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands

2University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

3University of Baltimore, Baltimore, USA

4Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran

Entrepreneurship Education with Impact: Opening the Black Box


Entrepreneurship Education (EE) has become recognized as a way of developing expertise and readiness to the challenges of modern labor markets in the context of work as well as the general context of an individual's life. Classical distinctions often made in EE are the differences between entrepreneurship and enterprising and in learning about, through, or for entrepreneurship. Although these different EE-foci have consequences for learning outcomes, pedagogy, and the role of teachers, they are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, these approaches can be seen as a natural progression in EE. The student can develop from latent to nascent and from novice to either expert independent or entrepreneur. EE is about “content, methods and activities that support the development of motivation, skill and experience, which make it possible to be entrepreneurial, to manage and participate in value-creating processes” (Moberg et al., 2014, p. 14).

Practitioners and policy makers tout the benefits of EE. For instance, in a recent study carried out by the European Commission in 23 countries the overarching conclusion was that EE has a positive impact on a wide diversity of (labor-market related) outcomes (EC, 2015). Nonetheless, scientific studies on EE are more critical. Recent meta-analyses suggest overall small but positive effects of EE on the development of entrepreneurial intentions (Bae et al., 2014; Martin et al., 2013). However, these meta-analyses also highlight methodological weaknesses and warn that results have to be interpreted with care. Moreover, as Lackéus (2015) argues, the current impact studies contribute only marginally to illuminating the question of how, when, and why students develop entrepreneurial competencies. There is a clear need to go beyond the current narrow “intention” models of measuring the impact of EE, as EE is more than a ‘factory’ for creating high potential start-ups. It is suggested that the impact of EE lies in the development of 21st century skills, such as creativity and complex problem solving, noncognitive skills like social competence and resilience, and even broader, fostering employability, identity building, and lifelong learning.

In line of the above we argue that, to understand EE’s full, broad potential, more thorough, methodological advanced, in-depth studies are necessary. This includes studies addressing modern educational outcomes and which investigate in-depth learning activities, learner and learning environment characteristics, and the development of entrepreneurial competencies in initial as well as in postinitial work-based learning EE settings. We welcome studies using a range of methodological approaches.

Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • The diversity of EE outcomes
  • The methodological advancement in measuring and assessing the outcomes of EE
  • The interplay between specific learning activities, learning environments, and learning outcomes
  • The effects of peer-learning and team learning on EE outcomes
  • The contribution of specific entrepreneurial support sources such as business incubators to modern EE outcomes
  • The effects of modern visualization tools such as business model canvas on EE outcomes
  • The role of emotions in generating entrepreneurial learning outcomes
  • The role of teachers in realising modern EE outcomes
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