This paper discusses a project carried out with thirty six final year undergraduate students, studying the Bachelor of Science in Business and Management and taking the module Small Business Management during the academic year 2012 and 2013 in Dublin Institute of Technology. The research had two separate objectives, 1) to engage in active learning by having students work on a consulting project in groups for a real life business and 2) to improve student learning. The Small Business Management previously had a group assignment that was to choose an article related to entrepreneurship and critic it and present it to the class. Anecdotally, from student feedback, it was felt that this process did not engage students and also did not contribute to the key competencies necessary in order to be an entrepreneur. The desire was for students on successful completion of this module to have better understood how business is conducted and equip them with core skills such as innovation, critical thinking, problem solving and decision making .Student buy in was achieved by getting the students to select their own groups and also work out between each group from a one page brief provided by the businesses which business they would like to work with. It was important for the businesses to also feel their time spent with students was worthwhile so they were presented with a report from the students at the end of the twelve weeks and invited into the College to hear the presentations from students. Students were asked to provide a reflection on their three key learning points from the assignment and to answer specific questions designed to understand what they learnt and how and their strengths and weaknesses. A survey was sent to the businesses that took part to understand their experiences. The results were positive with student engagement and learning rating very highly and feedback from the businesses demonstrated an appreciation of having a different generational perspective helping with their projects. The modules was successfully expanded for 2013 and 2014 to take account of feedback by increasing the weighting of the assignment for students, by introducing a reflection every two weeks and by keeping a log and minutes of all meetings with the businesses.
"Engaging Students' Learning Through Active Learning,"
Irish Journal of Academic Practice:
1, Article 13.
Available at: https://arrow.dit.ie/ijap/vol3/iss1/13