Productization of know-how – Pedagogical Development Project of Lion’s Den Learning Circle

Authors: Korhonen, Jenni; Owino, Rolex & Nemilentsev, Mikhail

Introduction

Three students at JAMK Teacher Education College came together to combine their ideas & skills on pedagogy, business smarts, and knowledge of social sciences. Since the background on entrepreneurial affairs was strong in the three, the perspective was chosen to be on the entrepreneurs. The group being an international one, the qualitative interviews that were carried out also represent entrepreneurs from varied countries that are now operating in Finland. To enable anyone to employ themselves by using the skills they already have the trio has attempted to lower the barricades to becoming an entrepreneur. Thus, the website tries to be inclusive of all and the main areas have recordings of the text for those that are not fluent at reading.

Presentation of the Project Team – Learning Circle

Lion’s Den Limited (Ltd.) is a professional services enterprise that specialises in producing Online Operational Manuals for the – Productization of know-how. In this spirit, we strive to provide entrepreneurs at all stages of their business development processes with – a Best Practice Online Operational Manual – that assists them to better productize their service/product offerings to their various clientele. In this way, entrepreneurs have at their disposal – a foundational best practice online operational manual that they can utilise to better communicate their service/product offerings to their esteemed clientele. Entrepreneurs therefore become life-long teachers/learners – who are better equipped with the tools and techniques to productize their service/product offerings. This innovative skill then significantly helps entrepreneurs to become life-long teachers/learners who are able and better equipped at maintaining customer loyalty, and at the same time, creating new business opportunities to further enhance the overall viability, competitiveness and profitability of their enterprises.

Pedagogical rationale of the development project

Our pedagogical development project contributes to the field of entrepreneurship education and training programs, both for practicing (i.e. who already own an enterprise) and potential (i.e. who have a skill without owning an enterprise) entrepreneurs. In particular focusing on developing skills and competences for productization of know-how that enable better start or operation of an enterprise (Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs around the World, 2015). Productization of know-how could be explained as the act of developing a service or concept into a product (Kaplan & Norton 2000; 7 simple steps to creating a profitable productized service 2015).

From the pedagogical standpoint, Talent Tutor Manual (2016) leads to attainment of multiple positive outcomes, such as: (a) building entrepreneurial mind-sets, (b) developing entrepreneurial capabilities, (c) increasing entrepreneurial status, and (d) raising entrepreneurial performance.

The project team’s justifications are supported by the validated practitioner oriented literature and complemented through the set of semi-structured interviews. Talent Tutor Manual utilizes best practices collected through semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs by the authors representing different professions. The productization of know-how is thus represented by the diverse cultural contexts of the interviewed entrepreneurs. The program characteristics (i.e. the design and content) of the Talent Tutor Manual are featured by the online blog format. Our projected model of discovering, commercializing and productizing know-how develops skills of both entrepreneurs (i.e. teachers) and interested individuals (i.e. learners) (Entrepreneurship Education and Training Programs around the World, 2015). The developed productization-model will be based on the three theoretical constructs of learning: constructivism, cognitivism and connectivism (Guidelines for entrepreneurship education 2009; Best Practices in Online Teaching Strategies 2009). These constructs can be named as the “three C’s of effective productization of entrepreneurial know-how”.

The commercial and socio-cultural success of the Talent Tutor Manual is secured by taking different contexts of learning into consideration. In particular, we consider the needs of inclusive education by targeting learners with sight, hearing, motor, seizure or cognitive kinds of impairment. Additionally, multiple best practices of the real entrepreneurs help learners to analyse how the developed model works in general and its three phases function in particular, why the model works and what the various cultural contexts of entrepreneurship are.

Successful implementation of the project is validated by the project’s novelty, or “newness”. The project’s essence is to recognize challenges that service-based entrepreneurs face to more successfully communicate (i.e., teach) their value prepositions to their varied clientele. The main challenge that service-based entrepreneurs face is the lack of a clear and systematic strategy to more convincingly commercialize service offerings to clientele. The Lion’s Den educating team was therefore established to offer expertise in resolving this retrogressive challenge. We will offer an online operational manual for the – productization of know-how. Our target entrepreneurs possess a particular skill [but] lack the expertise to draft effective communication strategies (teaching) to both keep loyal and attract new clientele. As such, our project’s endeavour was to follow and complement the Guidelines for entrepreneurship education of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (2009)

Talent Tutor Manual follows the Guidelines for entrepreneurship education of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture (2009) and aims at increasing entrepreneurship among Finnish citizens and raising popularity of entrepreneurial activity by providing required knowledge and skills and creating conditions for productization of entrepreneurial know-how. Talent Tutor Manual also targets multiple groups of learners through the designed online learning environment that is also in accordance with the call of the Guidelines for entrepreneurship education (2009). As such, our three-phase model promotes the cross-disciplinary entrepreneurship pedagogy.

Talent Tutor Manual forms the action culture that promotes flexible learning, entrepreneurial skills, networking and online communication skills. Our online blog space is a designed learning environment that supports entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial capabilities (Guidelines for entrepreneurship education 2009). The earlier stated “three C’s of effective productization of entrepreneurial know-how” are now theoretically justified.

In accordance with the constructivist learning theory, a learned substance is constructed or developed based on the earlier learned constructs (Engeström 1996; Riegler 2015). Therefore, our earlier experience and knowledge manage our observations (Bruner 1967; Riegler & Steffe 2014). We add new information to the earlier observed data and experience and thus our knowledge structure is edited and the learning process takes place (Kärki 2015). The constructivist theory states that man is not “tabula rasa” or an empty board, which knowledge is articulated to, but rather man is a active learner that proceeds processes and information continuously (Ruohotie 1998; Sweeting & Hohl 2015). In the process of learning, it is important to operationalize the learned information and that the earlier absorbed skills and knowledge active a process of new learning (Riegler 2015; Vygotsky 1962). In addition to the earlier learned information and one’s own experiences, man’s objectives, wishes and expectations influence on the process of constructivist-based learning (Kärki 2015; Piaget 1972).

Based on the cognitivist concept of learning, consideration is given to the fact what and how well an individual is capable of doing and learning (Engerström 1996; Goswami 2015; Neisser 1967). The central concepts for the cognitivist view of the learning process are thinking, problem solving and understanding (Dulany 2014; Newell & Simon 1972; Ruohotie 1998). Such a perspective is not only focused on the external activity and its changes, but the consideration is linked with the brains’ internal processes (Mattila et al. 2015).

The connectivism learning theory has been developed over the last decades and is still being investigated with as a theory for the digital era (Barabási 2002; Sokolovskaya 2015; Vaill 1996). Interchanges of various contexts and contents of learning, human dependence on the digital sources of information, and modernized epistemological dogmas of learning such as objectivism, pragmatism and interpretivism contribute to the development of the connectivism as a learning theory (Dunaway 2011; Joksimovic et al. 2015). Being dependent by the network relations taking place in the online web (i.e. www), the learning process is going continuously between social and online realities (Hicks & Graber 2010; Sokolovskaya 2015). As such, results of learning and knowledge-refinement processes are acquired through the online social learning space.

In particular, we construct an entrepreneurial learning environment where individuals “learn by enterprising” that is in accordance with the Constructivism theory of learning. Additionally, we develop entrepreneurial capabilities of learners (potential entrepreneurs) and teachers (i.e. entrepreneurs) by reinforcing their inventive learning that is in accordance with the Cognitivism theory of learning. Finally, we engender entrepreneurship-oriented online operational culture and online learning environment with our Talent Tutor Manual that is in accordance with the Connectivism theory of learning (Best Practices in Online Teaching Strategies 2009).

Our model will help entrepreneurs who will to pass their skills to become more confident, flexible and responsive to the diverse needs of learners thus becoming competent entrepreneurial teachers (Entrepreneurship Education: A Guide for Educators 2014). In turn, learners of entrepreneurial know-how will get multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary and action learning. Learning with our developed model becomes tailored to the learning needs of individuals. Talent Tutor Manual is more than just a guide how to run a business. On the contrary, Talent Tutor Manual is about how to develop entrepreneurial capabilities, raise attitudes and skills and productize ideas into sizeable income. We use real-life case studies of entrepreneurs that are designed to help learners acquire entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and competences.

With our Talent Tutor Manual, we create a new way to teach entrepreneurship (Brush 2013). We believe that in order to teach entrepreneurship, an individual needs to practice entrepreneurship. Therefore, our three-phase model contributes to “learning by enterprising”: individuals open and own enterprises and acquire necessary practical skills and professional competences by practicing entrepreneurship. However, being educators we also believe that practical aspects of entrepreneurship can be fuller explained through the applied theory. Therefore, our model also contributes to “enterprising by learning” (Brush 2013): individuals learn ground and applied theory, practice methods of entrepreneurship in the class and then realize entrepreneurial opportunities by opening a company and applying the earlier learned information in practice. In particular, with our model we refine the concept of “practice” by explaining various contexts of entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurial mindset through the analysed real-life cases of entrepreneurs presented in our online manual.

Project’s Limitations and Challenges

We recognize certain challenges and limitations that our project has and that need to be managed on a continuous basis. The first question is whether our product will be appealing to most entrepreneurs in the field.

There are additional challenges in generalization of recommendations for entrepreneurs, since, for instance, serial entrepreneur have more “scientific oriented” approach to the process of entrepreneurship. In addition, entrepreneurs might be reluctant to professionalize their operations, although professionalization of business brings higher profits and market opportunities.We need to account for different approaches for practicing and potential entrepreneurs.

Product Description of Talent Tutor Manual

The below-presented product description of Talent Tutor Manual (2016) is based on the online blog environment – the website – that could be reached with the following address: https://talenttutorblog.wordpress.com/. Some pages contain videos that simplify perception of the site material and bring additional value for diverse groups of learners.

Talent Tutor Manual has several sections that will be further presented. In addition, the analyses of the conducted interviews are given in order to validate the interview results and make conclusions.

Table 1: Descriptions of different sections on the TalentTutor website

Website section Description
Home Front page with a video advertisement embedded
Help Information on accessibility of the website
For our learners Page to show with a comic strip what the whole idea about in a nutshell
What do we do Productization model presented
Practical tips Explaining some practical aspects of being an entrepreneur
Interviews Contains seven interviews some of which are also taped, contains multilingual versions in some cases
Investors’ page Page for investors to get more information

 

Description of sections of Talent Tutor Manual

Hello!

This here is a crazy brain child of a learning circle at JAMK international vocational teacher education program.

So, here it goes! In an attempt to bring you an online manual that is accessible to readers and non-readers alike; a manual for recognizing one’s inner know-how and productisize those skills.

Help

In accordance with Web Accessibility Initiative by World Wide Web Consortium this website is designed for different kinds of people. See more on the initiative here.

access

FIGURE 1. Web accessibility for the various groups of learning (Pictures accessed from freedigitalphotos.net).

Our website adheres to Web Accessibility to different audiences on various levels:

  • visual: website offers recordings of all texts to those with sight impairment
  • auditory: website offers text to those with hearing impairment
  • motor: website offers one handed use navigation even on mobile devices
  • seizure awareness: no flashes or other possibly seizure inducing effects
  • cognitive: videos, pictorial aids and lists to those with learning impairments

For Our Learners

Whether you want to read yourself or listen to the spoken word – your journey starts here!

In the short comic strip below we have a story of a person with interesting hair and she could earn money by teaching her skill to others.

  • First picture: a woman sees a nice hairdo on a woman walking on the street from her window.
  • Second picture: the hairdo raises questions: how to do it?
  • Third picture: the woman is offered money to show her skills.
  • Fourth picture: a woman has learned the secrets of hairdressing and is pleased with herself.

What Do We Do?

model-jpg

FIGURE 2. The model of productization of know-how (Talent Tutor Manual 2016).

Practical tips

  • Even if your business is in the educational field and those services are exempt of VAT, it could be that any by-products (books, food etc.) of your teaching you could sell are not. Also, buying raw materials carries VAT. Therefore, register for VAT.
  • Apply for a startup grant from TE Office for financial help as an upcoming entrepreneur.
  • Help on how to become an entrepreneur in Finland from My Enterprise Finland Service.
  • Lightweight version of being an entrepreneur exists: it is possible to sell your skills and invoice the clients through services such as UKKO.fi; see the differences between sole proprietors and lightweight entrepreneurs below:

TABLE 1. Practical tips (Talent Tutor Manual 2016).

practical-tips

Conclusions

The learning circle – Lion’s den – has successfully managed to prepare its pedagogical development project – Talent Tutor Manual – Productization of Know-how – in the due time in accordance with the general and specific instructions mentioned in the Study Guide 2015 (TEC, JAMK). In accordance with the earlier made presentation we use the following interpretation of productization: productization is the act of developing a service or concept into a product (Kaplan & Norton, 2000, 2004; Martin, 2015). If we compare our final output to the articulated intentions of the project’s plan and implementation document submitted in the autumn semester 2015 in Optima all the main goal and specific objectives were achieved.

In particular, we have recognised and empirically analysed the challenges that entrepreneurs are consistently encountering in the delivering process of their service/product offerings to their varied clientele.

We have also developed the systems strategy to more convincingly commercialise service/product offerings and built the three-stage productization model strengthened by the relevant theoretical analysis and critical review of the fields of learning & teaching.

In addition, we have created and operationalised the online page for our operational manual that is public and well functioning.We have created a repository of the conducted, transcribed, analysed and enriched interviews with the English translations when necessary aiming at disclosing the multi-sided stories of entrepreneurial know-how.

We have remained a learning circle until the end of the project work despite the existing tensions, time constraints and other temporary challenges

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URN

http://urn.fi/urn:nbn:fi:jamk-issn-2489-2386-2