I often hear the statement or question whether entrepreneurial education (or EL – entrepreneurial learning – as it is called in Sweden despite being in an educational setting) is the same as problem-based learning (PBL). I thought I’d put down some major differences that I see now based on my newly published dissertation on the topic of developing entrepreneurial competencies (read it here). The most straightforward way to put it is to say that PBL is “learning by solving problems” while EL is “learning by creating value”. Solving problems can be done without involving any external parties outside the educational setting or containing authentic content whatsoever, whereas value creation requires someone outside the education that the value is created for and then naturally also requires some degree of authenticity. This makes EL way more connected to the outside world than PBL has ever been designed to be. It also means that EL can spur much higher levels of motivation, experienced relevancy and engagement than can PBL. In my own classification of action-based pedagogies, PBL ends up in the first level – “creation pedagogy” – easy to deliver but not so effective in terms of deep learning and student motivation - while EL ends up in the other three categories, i.e. “value creation pedagogy”, “venture creation pedagogy” or “sustainable venture creation pedagogy” – more difficult to deliver but also more effective in terms of deep learning and student motivation. Read more about this in a separate blog post here.
There are probably more differences, please let me know what you think.