To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Self-directed experiential learning to meet ever-changing entrepreneurship demands

Thomas Howard Morris (School of Education, Bath Spa University, Bath, UK)
Pascal D. König (University of Kaiserslautern, Kaiserslautern, Germany)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 21 October 2020

Issue publication date: 30 December 2020




Policy makers have called for more entrepreneurship throughout societies as a response to the digital transformation. This paper argues that the rapidly changing conditions of the digital age indeed mark a change in the bases of entrepreneurship. Specifically, as adaptivity becomes key, a learning capacity and general ability to adapt becomes a critical factor in entrepreneurial activity. The paper identifies self-directed learning (SDL) as a fundamental competence in this regard and examines its role for entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial competence.


The paper develops a theoretical framework for the role of SDL in entrepreneurship through a process of systematic review of previous studies that have linked SDL to entrepreneurship.


The formulated theoretical framework shows how SDL competence combines with experiential learning in supporting the kind of adaptivity needed for entrepreneurial competence, especially under more rapidly changing conditions. SDL competence also gains wider importance through enabling individuals to meet the demands of organizational changes in our highly volatile world.

Practical implications

SDL competence prepares individuals for entrepreneurship and resilience in face of rapid changes as well as for being more entrepreneurial in the conduct of their lives more generally. Fostering SDL competence can thus be regarded as an important objective of entrepreneurship education.


The described self-directed experiential learning cycle offers a novel perspective that clarifies how both self-directed and experiential learning competences are integral for understanding the basis of adaptiveness in entrepreneurial activity.



Morris, T.H. and König, P.D. (2021), "Self-directed experiential learning to meet ever-changing entrepreneurship demands", Education + Training, Vol. 63 No. 1, pp. 23-49.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles