It's not an exact science: teaching entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland

Cecilia Hegarty (Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship, NICENT, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Publication date: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the approach to embedding entrepreneurship within third level education in Northern Ireland by assessing the perceptions of lecturers and learners and monitoring the effectiveness of teaching methods.

Design/methodology/approach

Surveys and focus groups were conducted with lecturers and learners from different disciplines as part of a pilot investigation under the Northern Ireland Centre for Entrepreneurship (NICENT) with a view to establishing a longitudinal study.

Findings

Evidence suggests that NICENT has increased interest and positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. E‐learning can meet high demand, intensive programmes are equally effective in improving the skills set. Entrepreneurship education needs sub‐sequential support.

Research limitations/implications

The study provided preliminary findings for entrepreneurship teachings in different disciplines. Further dissecting of lecturer/learner analyses by course/year etc. is possible. Effectiveness could be assessed through graduate behaviours in the future in order to build longitudinal data.

Practical implications

The results prove that lecturers/learners are willing to embrace new subjects (entrepreneurship for scientists) and new teaching methods when blended with traditional approaches. Whilst WebCT environment can facilitate a comfortable action‐learning zone, entrepreneurship education needs personalisation and industry engagement.

Originality/value

The study reports from the developing face within Northern Ireland and provides insightful observations of new subject adoption, the learner's curve and changing cultural attitudes within tertiary education.

Keywords

Citation

Hegarty, C. (2006), "It's not an exact science: teaching entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland", Education + Training, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 322-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/00400910610677036

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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