Smith, Kelly (2007) Supporting e-learning in enterprise: the TE3 project. Education + Training, 49 (8/9). pp. 656-671. ISSN 0040-0912

Abstract: Purpose – The Technology Enhanced Enterprise Education project (TE3) promotes the use of learning technologies to enhance enterprise and entrepreneurship education in the 12 HEI partners of the Mercia Institute of Enterprise (MIE). This paper describes the formal processes and procedures underpinning TE3, describes issues around material development and use, and comments on the lessons learned and added value outcomes experienced by community members.

Design/methodology/approach – TE3 works as a community of practice with regular events and online support for the sharing of materials and experience. Materials developed with TE3 funds are made available to all partners to download, adapt, and use for educational or research purposes. Community learning is captured via quarterly progress and end-of-project forms which ask educators to reflect on the lessons they have learned, and to note any added-value benefits that have emerged as a result of material development.

Findings – Since its creation in August 2003, over 13,000 students have been registered to learn about enterprise using TE3 developed materials, and over 500 members of staff have been involved with TE3 through projects or training events. Educators have reported that TE3 has led to increased skills and knowledge for both themselves and their students, and increased the pool of resources available. Added-value outcomes include increased research output, increased links with small firms, and links between academics and educators from different institutions that may not otherwise have arisen.

Practical implications – TE3 demonstrates how enterprise educators can work together to share resources and expertise, whilst embedding enterprise education within a sustainable local context, either as a dedicated module, or within a student's normal programme of study. The lessons learned by TE3 as a whole will be of use to those supporting enterprise educators, and those learned by individual TE3 projects can inform good practice in the use of e-learning to support enterprise students.

Originality/value – TE3 has successfully supported educators and facilitated the spread of enterprise education to students in West Midlands HEIs across all subject disciplines. It is now moving into a second phase which will concentrate on dissemination of the materials produced and in supporting the community of educators that has emerged.

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