DEVELOPING TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS THROUGH ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROJECTS: STUDENT’S EXPERIENCES AND CHALLENGES
1 Instituto de Neuropsicologia e Neurociências Cognitiva e Comportamental Portucalense (INNP) / Universidade Portucalense (PORTUGAL)
2 Portucalense University (PORTUGAL)
3 University of Minho (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:The profile required for today's graduates is increasingly more demanding and diverse, as communication skills, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving are at the top of the list of most of the job requirements and also on the evaluation criteria for recruiting professionals.
This paper aims to analyse the impact of the curricular unit “Entrepreneurship” on the development of student’s transversal skills. The study takes place in a curricular unit that is transversal to all third year bachelor programs of the Portucalense University, located in the north of Portugal. Therefore, “Entrepreneurship” is part of the study plan of programs such as Psychology, Social Education, Tourism, Economics, Law, Management, Informatics, Management and Information Systems and Hospitality Management. In this curricular unit, students are challenged to develop an entrepreneurial project based on a business idea that must be explored and improved throughout the semester.
Throughout the semester, students have several opportunities to develop not only technical knowledge on the subject matter, but also learn from doing and creating their own project. One of the most important outcomes of project-based learning approaches, strongly recognized in the literature, is the development of students’ transversal skills. In this particular approach, student participate in three Pitch sessions, where external evaluators are invited to give feedback to students in regard to their project ideas. These are important milestones of the project, which contribute to the development of students’ skills, mostly those related to oral communication, project management, teamwork, critical thinking and problem solving.
In this paper, results from a quantitative study are presented and discussed, based on the development of the questionnaire "Evaluation of Psychopedagogical Practices of the Entrepreneurship Project" (Costa-Lobo, Fernandes, Regueiro, 2016). The questionnaire was applied, at the end of the semester, to all students participating in the Entrepreneurship course unit, in the academic year of 2016/2017. Issues concerning critical appraisal of the project, developed skills, teamwork, Teacher´s and Tutor´s roles, evaluation of student performance and the project's efficiency as a teaching-learning methodology, are explored in the paper.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, transferable skills, project-based learning, professional practice.