Original Research

Entrepreneurs' learning preferences: A guide for entrepreneurship education

C. Nieuwenhuizen, D. Groenewald
Acta Commercii | Vol 8, No 1 | a76 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v8i1.76 | © 2008 C. Nieuwenhuizen, D. Groenewald | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2008 | Published: 05 December 2008

About the author(s)

C. Nieuwenhuizen, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
D. Groenewald, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to determine guidelines for effective entrepreneurship education and training, focusing on the development of entrepreneurial skills, based on what successful, established entrepreneurs look like, how they operate and their learning and thinking preferences.

Problem investigated: Entrepreneurial skills training is the difficult part of teaching entrepreneurship and is different from teaching functional and managerial skills related to entrepreneurship. The problem is that training and education focuses primarily on the management and functional business training of entrepreneurs and very seldom on the entrepreneurial skills. This study focuses on the much neglected second leg of entrepreneurship training, as most entrepreneurship programmes focus on the first leg, namely business planning and functions and management skills.

Design/methodology/approach: This is a formal and exploratory study. Two measurement instruments (Schein Career Orientations Inventory and the Neethling Brain Instrument) were used and completed by a sample of 50 entrepreneurs of the identified population. The paper address the entrepreneurship education needs as determined by the learning preferences of entrepreneurs.

Findings: The research indicated that all the essential entrepreneurial skills are seldom addressed in entrepreneurial training. The entrepreneurial skills that need to be incorporated in these programmes are self-concept, creativity and innovation, risk orientation, good human relations; perseverance and a positive attitude. The research also revealed that entrepreneurs have different learning preferences from other students / learners and this should be taken into consideration in the design of entrepreneurial curricula.

Value of research: The paper assist curriculum developers of entrepreneurship education programmes to better align their content to the entrepreneurial skills identified by successful entrepreneurs that need to be developed, and to conduct entrepreneurship education according to the learning preferences of entrepreneurs.

Conclusion: The application of the Garavan and O'Cinneide model regarding the methodology in the education of entrepreneurs can therefore be confirmed and recommended. The results of the career anchor and brain instruments indicate the importance of entrepreneurial skills-training and include training in the following areas : self concept; creativity and innovation; risk orientation; good human relations, perseverance and positive attitude.


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