Boundary Crossing Workshops for Enterprise Education: A Capability Approach
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This chapter proposes that enterprise education when applied to vocational education should be reconsidered according to a capability approach. This approach aims to improve students’ active participation and also their ability to make informed choices. Moreover, we believe that enterprise education needs an underpinning learning theory which can account for the collective nature of learning, innovation and movement across organisations. This new theoretical framework can be expansive learning. This chapter describes a case study carried out in 2014 in an Italian vocational course in hospitality. It documents the implementation of the theory of expansive learning for enterprise education within a series of workshops and evidences how a capabilities approach has been effectively utilised. During work experience, vocational students belong simultaneously to diverse activity systems such as school and work, which creates discontinuities in action and interaction. The basic principle of the workshops is that with the help of the researcher, vocational students, teachers and work tutors discuss the issues that students are having during work experience. This chapter begins with a discussion on the role of enterprise education in vocational education, and continues by showing how the capability approach can contribute to education and entrepreneurship. The third section explains why and how the theory of expansive learning can underpin entrepreneurship education and how it was utilised in the model of workshops which incorporate enterprise education theory. Section four describes the case study in an Italian vocational secondary institute. The data presented includes excerpts of discussions during the fourth workshop, the student’s answer to the final questionnaire and the follow-up after two years. The conclusion draws out the learning mechanisms which characterised the workshops, what the students learnt in term of enterprise education and how the workshops are connected to a capability approach.