METHODOLOGY AND EVALUATION OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP COURSES
Creating a new business is a process. However, there is no magic program that will guarantee you a new successful business. The process is highly stochastic (not all business ideas make it) and iterative (based on what you learn as you proceed, you will likely have to modify your thinking and repeat parts of earlier steps). This paper explores the role of academics in this process, the economic literature related to entrepreneurship education and explains the results obtained in the (virtual) pilot course programme on entrepreneurship, as organised by UNED in the project Cross Border Virtual Entrepreneurship (CBVE): a European Multilateral project under the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013, Subprogramme Erasmus - Cooperation between Universities and Enterprises.
Traditional business programs have come under increased criticism for failing to be relevant to the needs of today’s changing business environment for four main reasons:
•They do not stress the cross-functional complexity of business problems.
•Business school courses are highly structured and do not often pose problems which require novel solutions.
•The lack of creativity and individual thinking required.
•They are not designed to promote creativity, innovation and self-employment.
Entrepreneurship courses are becoming part of the educational offer of universities of the United States and Europe, but this fact does not mean that currently the teaching of entrepreneurship is yet sufficiently integrated in higher education institutions' curricula and that there is consensus on just what exactly entrepreneurship students should be taught.
There are different methodologies, contents and support materials that could be used by entrepreneurship educators to coach students. After analysing the situation in the United States and in Europe, UNED developed its own model for an entrepreneurship course.
The aim was to create a virtual course for business planning, supported by pedagogically-rich master class materials, designed for distance-learning students, and which could guarantee that students would be able to develop entrepreneurial skills, and in some cases competences as well. The course design needed to be different for distance-learning students because of their special (off-campus) features.
Another objective of UNED is to deliver and evaluation report on the final results of the pilot-run virtual business planning. We searched the literature about the evaluation of education and training programmes for new business creation and then develop a model for the evaluation of business creation courses.