Young Entrepreneur Institute is partnering with the local business and non-profit community to provide students with an opportunity to tackle authentic, real-world problems in real time. This is not a case study. Authentic Learning Projects are an opportunity for students’ deep learning in a collaborative setting appropriate for either a classroom or out of school time setting.
The project launches with a direct briefing and challenge from a local business or organization and culminates in students presenting one or more viable solutions to the management team. In between, learners will have the opportunity to engage in a process of inquiry that evolves over the course of the project. Owners and managers are asked to actively participate during the process and to be available to answer questions by email, video call or in-person.
Challenges might include topics faced by community partner businesses and organizations, such as retaining customers, competition, new service launches or brand positioning, online presence, marketing, human resource issues, and more.
The project, up to eight weeks long, is teacher-coached and student-driven and encourages action research with a focus on inquiry, critical thinking, problem solving and presentation work. Students practice a range of life skills including critical thinking, collaboration, written and oral communication, and persistence. The organization gets an outside perspective on their real-world problem.
The real-world nature of the challenge will require students to engage the organization and technical experts during the process for information gathering. Activities may include interviews, focus groups, surveys or prototype testing. This process fosters the entrepreneurial mindset and provides opportunities for students to iterate and pivot.
Teachers are encouraged to put their own creative stamp on the project, choosing the best approach that accounts for their students’ skills, background, and prior knowledge. The participating organization(s) and teacher will meet prior to the project launch, allowing them to mutually agree on design decisions and best practices for communication during the project. Suggested guidelines have been intentionally designed to allow teachers the space to integrate their own curriculum and teamwork preferences (individual, team or whole-class).
The project culminates with a final presentation to the organization, which can be different and competing solutions or a single culminating solution from the entire class. The possibilities are endless but the opportunity for real-world learning is certain.
Check out our partner resources