We wanted to understand if our students are still interested in learning about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills and if there were any trends or specific needs we should address in our courses. To ensure we truly understood what the students wanted, we decided to involve them in the course creation process.
To do this, we analyzed all student emails requesting entrepreneurial services or assistance from 2017-2022. The analysis process allowed us to hear feedback about past entrepreneurial services and courses, the services currently on offer, and the ones most wanted by our students.
It also allowed us to understand the needs of our students better and establish the amount of interest in the entrepreneurial programs and services at Haaga-Helia generally.
Students want to learn more about entrepreneurship and need specific help to set up their businesses
Our analysis found steady and potentially increasing demand for entrepreneurial learning, information, and programs from Haaga-Helia across campuses and degree programs. The study also identified at least two distinct user groups.
The first group of users requested specific services or assistance with their existing business idea. The second group of users is interested in gaining entrepreneurial skills and knowledge but not sure what they would like to learn about or what help they need.
We believe both users’ needs should be considered when developing entrepreneurial educational content.
Users who requested specific information or assistance were looking for services and content geared toward coaching, business plan, (help to) set up a business, funding, finance, taxation, loans, and legal (help).
Prototyping and piloting possible solutions to make sure we are meeting future students’ needs
Today’s educational environment is full of solutions that cater to students’ needs for high-quality, individualized, on-demand learning. We believe the course offerings at Haaga-Helia also need to take this fundamental digital shift in how knowledge is delivered.
For example, the students in our study wanted highly customized courses and assistance at different points during their studies. The level of customization and help the students need would be challenging to deliver at scale due to the existing time burden on Haaga-Helia’s teachers and experts.
This challenge is why our working group has begun prototyping fully digital, on-demand, one-credit micro-courses in the areas of entrepreneurship most requested by students. Students can access the micro-course that fits their learning needs when needed. This hopefully prevents entrepreneurial students from falling through the learning gaps created due to a lack of resources or issues with accessing suitable materials.
The project’s prototyping phase is ongoing, with the course prototypes being piloted in 2023.
In a perfect world, every student would have a personal coach or teacher to help them with their specific learning needs. Unfortunately, we all know that the time demand this would have on staff is not feasible. Although digital micro-courses are not a perfect solution, they are an easily accessible way for students to customize their entrepreneurial learning journey to their own needs at the “right” time.