Online Learning Excellence (our manifesto)


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What can we do to grow online education in entrepreneurship - to do it right?

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Online Learning Excellence (our manifesto)

  1. 1. Online LearningExcellence (OLE!)STAR Online Learning Excellence Program Manifesto Written by: Ayman El Tarabishy George Solomon Norris Kruegger Geoff Archer 1|Page
  2. 2. The STAR Online Learning Excellence Program is a comprehensive training and mentoringprogram for entrepreneurship educators. Participants learn firsthand, educator-to-educator, howto identify and tailor the best possible learning tools and exercises for specific online learningobjectives. Award-winning trainers help make online experiential learning more than just acollection of activities, leading a revolution in entrepreneurial learning. The STAR OnlineLearning Excellence Program is a comprehensive, memorable, and high impact learningentrepreneurship course.What Is Online Learning Excellence?A key to online learning excellence is understanding how people actually learn, how a personmoves from novice to expert. Educational psychology tells us that we can think of learning interms of a roadmap from A to B. At point A we provide inputs—learning content andexperiences. These inputs become throughputs that are transformed by a process within andbetween learners that is guided by teacher/facilitators. The results are learning outputs, B, thatrepresent expertise. A: Inputs  Throughputs  B: OutputsThe throughput transformation process involves the development of a new mindset, in additionto skills and knowledge. In other words, effective learning is not about training memory butabout developing minds.By blending online and classroom experiences it is possible to design and deliver a radicallynew learning model. This new model can drive a dramatic increase in individuals’ learning,creating an entrepreneurial mindset that results in expert entrepreneurial thought and action. For Example: With online/blended classes we can fully implement a learning experience by which individuals absorb the material on their own, in multimedia ways, then collaborate online (using both synchronous and asynchronous methods) and, finally, use face-to-face classroom time to identify, explore, and address deeper issues. The Nature of the Learning Throughput Process “Learning is not about filling a pail; it’s about lighting a fire.” – WB YeatsThe learning throughput process involves a transformation in participants, specifically in theirmindsets. Transformational learning, as defined by the educational scholar and researcherJack Mezirow, involves deep cognitive changes in the assumptions that lie beneath our thinking.Most people operate most of the time on autopilot. That is, automatic processing circuits in ourbrains make decisions about actions and, if we’re lucky, tell us why and how. It is hard enough 2|Page
  3. 3. to change conscious, intentional thinking; changing deeply anchored assumptions requires adeep form of experiential learning. This also means that the learners’ motivation must movefrom extrinsic—learning in order to get desired rewards—to intrinsic, that is, motivation to learnbecause of a deep desire for personal development through increased knowledge and skill. “Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens.” -EpictetusDeeply anchored assumptions are changed by crucial developmental experiences involvingactivities that drive cognitive change. The STAR Online Learning Excellence Program beginswith participants identifying the changes they want to see in their students. Participants thenwork to identify the important and necessary developmental experiences needed to producethose changes.Tools and TechniquesHow do we translate “critical developmental experiences” into actual online and classroomactivities? A frequent criticism of online learning is that, unlike classroom learning, onlinelearning cannot be experiential. Believe it or not, truly experiential, deeply transformativelearning can be facilitated—even enhanced—through online learning. The STAR OLE programis designed to enable participants to create experiential, transformative online learningexperiences. For Example: In the classroom good simulations can be extremely effective experiential learning tools. However, the direct impact of the physical reality of the classroom can hamper that effectiveness, An online simulation activity encourages students’ deep engagement because their imaginations are engaged, as in any good simulation, but not contradicted by direct perceptions of a classroom.PlatformsWhile online learning is not strongly affected by the learning platform used, different platform-type mechanisms have different strengths. Kauffman’s iStart was designed to support studententrepreneurship competitions. The Dell Social Innovation Challenge and the William JamesFoundation competition have similar aims in the social entrepreneurship realm. Moreover,such platforms can develop into more general-use tools. The iStart platform, for instance, hasmorphed into a great tool for building teams and to access information for student projects ofany kind using volunteered internet sources.Many of the STAR Online Learning Excellence participants will have experience (or their schoolwill) with Blackboard, WebX or Digital Chalk. Or they may have used the platforms by WhoOwns the Ice House or FastTrac. The STAR Online Learning Excellence program will helpparticipants identify their own strategies and how to optimize their use. 3|Page
  4. 4. Social MediaIn the classroom, instructors often ban smartphones or laptops, reasoning that students willsimply look up the answers to questions or give the appearance of having knowledge whenwhat they have is skill at using others and the internet to quickly access information. In onlinelearning it’s not possible to enforce such bans, and some see this as a limitation. However,education guru Marc Prensky argues that the use of social media to get information is astrength, not a weakness, and should be encouraged, in the classroom as well as online. TheSTAR Online Learning Excellence program will show particpants how to use students’ existingweb skills to enhance learning and move them from extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation. For Example: In inner-city Portland, the use of social media was encouraged, resulting in the disadvantaged youth in the program doing extra homework… without extra credit. This is an example of moving learning from an extrinsic motive base to one of intrinsic motivation.Changing the GameUnderstanding how to use tools and techniques for maximum positive impact permits one toeffectively manage and radically transform the online learning process. It’s even possible toradically transform the grading process and turn it into a positive experience!AssessmentAgain, let’s think Inputs  Throughputs  OutputsAssessment is, of course, important at all three stages. However, online tools permitassessment in ways that were never before possible. Customized learning for every studentbecomes a reality, even in a large program. Specific micro-activities can be subject toassessments that increase learning impact. And assessment of an entire course or programbecomes far more meaningful.The Folly of Rewarding A While Hoping for BThe old management maxim that our metrics need to match our actual goals is critically true inhuman learning. What are the desired changes? How are those changes achieved? ARE theybeing achieved? And, are these the changes that are really the right changes? Learning howto learn—“double-loop” learning—is often cited as a crucial goal but is rarely assessed. It can,however, be monitored with tools that are designed for that aim. One key is to get learnersthemselves deeply engaged in assessment, tapping their unique—if biased—insights. (Whichare no more biased than the insight of teacher/facilitators!) But what if we can’t assess thedesired outcomes? What then? The field of human resource management provides some goodtools, such as lesson plans. 4|Page
  5. 5. Lesson Plans?How many of us use formal lesson plans? How many of us have even seen a real one? Thereare few examples to be found in entrepreneurship learning. However, if one wants an arithmeticlesson plan for second graders, there are accessible repositories with over 100 lesson plans forproven best practices.Inputs  Throughputs  Outputs are at the heart of lesson plans. The STAR Online LearningExcellence program will show how they work. As we build a community of skilled onlineeducators, the STAR Online Learning Excellence program will also build a master repository ofoutstanding (and effective) entrepreneurship lessons.ResourcesThe STAR Online Learning Excellence program will provide participants with examples of somegreat practices from “guest star” friends and allies. They can become allies of programparticipants, too. These invited resource persons will give brief descriptions the resources theyhave to offer.We have carefully selected this group of key resource persons. Some will present in person,some by video and some by proxy. There will be a list of these key individuals in our masterresource guide.There will also be brief presentations that overview important strategies to boost learning, suchas project-based learning, problem-based learning, situated learning, and the invertedclassroom.All of the above information will be available on a members-only STAR Online LearningExcellence website. And STAR Online Learning Excellence participants will be a central part ofthat resource. The community of STAR Online Learning Excellence participants is itself a greatresource!There will, of course, be academic/intellectual resources as well. There’s an old joke that aprofessor was using action learning, with active involvement of students in a real, problem-focused discussion. The dean stopped by and watched for a while, then said to the prof, “Don’tworry, I’ll come back when you’re teaching.” This old story demonstrates how little some peopleknow about 21st century learning!Here are links that can help to better define the aims of the STAR Online Learning Excellenceprogram: (an early article) (entrepreneurship in practice) (grounding in theory and concepts) 5|Page
  6. 6. SustainabilityA great online or blended experience can be powerful on its own, but its real power comes frommaking it a lasting experience, one that inspires participants to want more learning.One key to this is building a community. Building a community of practice around online/blendedentrepreneurship training is no easy task. Participants in the STAR Online Learning Excellenceprogram are the key to it. The STAR Online Learning Excellence program can give participantsa jumpstart on maintaining effective blended online/classroom learning experiences by helpingparticipants create a living community. In this respect, STAR Online Learning Excellenceprogram participants will be pioneers—and the STAR Online Learning Excellence program willhave proven successful.Problem-based learning (and project-based) has the attribute of spawning more problem-basedlearning. Once students have gone through a serious PBL experience, they tend to get hungryfor more. The aim of STAR Online Learning Excellence is building learning capacity inparticipants who will then be capable of building learning capacity in students. If this is doneright, learning capacity will be built into the institutions program participants are part of. That’swhat the constructivistic learning model brings to the table. By training minds, not justmemories, it’s possible to have a deep ripple effect of positive change throughout a society.Making Your Program Safe for Entrepreneurial LearningThere are back-home institutional and “political” issues that should be noted. That is, promotingonline/blended learning skillfully enough to set off ripple effects in an organization will not makeeveryone happy—remember that dean mentioned above! So, it’s important to recognize thateffective entrepreneurship education is disruptive, in the classical sense as used bySchumpeter. And some will see this as not just disruptive but as downright subversive.Ultimately…Sustainability means doing the right things the right way and for the right reasons. That meansgetting the right people involved. Those who choose to participate in the STAR Online LearningExcellence program are likely to be the “right” people for building a community of effectiveentrepreneurship educators.A key aim of the STAR Online Learning Excellence program is helping participants design aprogram that works brilliantly for them, one that offers continuity, connectivity and confidence.There will be vigorous discussion of both barriers and success stories. As entrepreneursourselves we understand the entrepreneurial lesson that… we’re all in this together! 6|Page
  7. 7. SponsorshipSEVEN STAR SPONSORS ($7,000) RECEIVE: ● Recognition as comprehensive sponsors ● Public recognition as sponsor of the Best STAR Online Learning Excellence Award (at USASBE Awards event) ● Two complimentary registrations at the USASBE Conference ● A dedicated insert in USASBE conference materials ● Access to two mass emailings of the Online Learning Excellence newsletter ● Involvement in a 45-minute webinar session in which the sponsor’s organization and service or product will be promoted ● Twenty minutes for a presentation at Online Learning Excellence training events ● Recognition at all Online Learning Excellence workshops and training events, along with participation in the STAR program. ● Logo recognition on the Online Learning Excellence website,, with a link to the sponsor’s website ● Sponsors’ logos appear on all printed promotional emails, materials and videos ● Sponsors’ banners will be displayed at STAR Online Learning Excellence training events and at the USASBE conference booth ● Sponsors will have a full page color ad in the STAR Online Learning Excellence training program handbookFIVE STAR SPONSORS ($5,000) RECEIVE: ● Recognition of comprehensive sponsorship ● ONE complimentary registration at the USASBE Conference ● Access to ONE email blast of the STAR Online Learning Excellence newsletter ● A webinar session (30 minutes) promoting their organization/service/product ● A fifteen minute presentation at the STAR Online Learning Excellence training seminar ● Recognition at all STAR Online Learning Excellence workshops and training events, including participation in the STAR program ● Logo recognition on the STAR Online Learning Excellence website,, with link to sponsoring company’s website ● Sponsor logo on all printed promotional emails, materials and videos ● Company banner displayed at the STAR Online Learning Excellence training event and at the USASBE conference booth. ● Full page color ad in training program handbook 7|Page
  8. 8. THREE STAR SPONSORS ($1,000) RECEIVE: ● Recognition with a ten minute presentation at the STAR Online Learning Excellence training event ● Recognition at all STAR Online Learning Excellence workshops and training events, including participation in the STAR program. ● Logo recognition on the STAR Online Learning Excellence website,, with link to the sponsoring company’s website ● Sponsor logo on all printed promotional emails, materials and videos ● Company banner displayed at the STAR Online Learning Excellence training event and at the USASBE conference booth ● Half page color ad in training program handbook .ONE STAR PRESENTER FEE ($100/minute ofpresentation time)Sponsors may choose to present at the conference and address delegates directly. Theorganizers are happy to incorporate your business into the agenda to maximize impact. ● Limit 30 minute presentations for sponsors ● Technology and a/v available on-siteFor more information on sponsorship opportunities, or to make a contribution, please contact:Dr. Ayman El TarabishyAssociate Teaching Professor of Management, George Washington University (GWU)2201 G. Street NW, Funger Hall Suite 315Washington, DC 20052 USAPhone: +1 202 994-0704E-mail: 8|Page