Interventions in entrepreneurial learning: Blended learning and ICT capacity
The effective use of information and communications technologies (ICT) can benefit most small businesses. This article examines the design, development and delivery of a pilot blended learning program for entrepreneurial learning that targets the use of ICT by tradespeople. The study involves a case study of tradespeople in Australia who participated in a program designed to build their capacity to identify, use and evaluate ICT to enhance their business practices. The program combined traditional instructional approaches (through face-to-face and online sessions for delivering basic ICT concepts to participants) with learner-centred approaches (through a combination of student mentor visits and practical exercises to identify applications that were context-specific for each participant's business). A blended learning assessment framework is employed throughout the article to inform and evaluate various aspects of the program. Project participants rated the face-to-face sessions, student mentor visits and practical exercises as very effective. However, some participants could not free up the time from their employment to participate in all of the face-to-face classes. From a theoretical perspective, an amended blended learning assessment framework for the delivery of ICT programs to entrepreneurs is presented and potential lessons for the delivery of ICT concepts to entrepreneurs in the trades and similar vocations are proposed.
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