Refai, Deema (2012) Developing Enterprise Skills Through Enterprise Education: The Significance of the Contribution of Experiential Learning Approaches in the Pharmacy Education Context in the UK HEIs. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

Higher Education is often cited as a key for the enhancement of the quality of graduates. In this research, the contribution of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in developing more enterprising graduates was investigated. The research specifically looked at the significance of the contribution of the learning activities embedded within the curriculum as part of experiential learning approaches, and how these contributed to equipping graduates with a range of generic transferable enterprise skills that are an essential part of employability skills. Nowadays, the idea of graduates with a bulk of knowledge, which they cannot apply, is no longer valid. Therefore, HEIs are under growing pressure to deliver graduates with the necessary range of skills that satisfy the demands of the employment marketplace.

This research follows a qualitative research method through adopting an hermeneutic phenomenological methodology, and was conducted in the context of pharmacy education in the United Kingdom (UK) HEIs during 2011. The research primarily considers the views of pharmacy academics as to how pharmacy schools understand the concept of enterprise education, what efforts they place to develop students’ enterprise skills and the extent to which experiential learning activities are utilised to serve this objective. The research also considers opinions of pharmacy employers in the marketplace to evaluate their views about the need for enterprise skills by recent pharmacy graduates, and whether they are satisfied by the level of skills demonstrated by recent graduates. Furthermore, the research briefly considers views of pharmacy students to evaluate the extent to which they value the need for enterprise skills, and whether they believe the educational process is helping them in developing those skills.

In order to consider the large amount of data obtained in this research, analysis of results was divided into four parts, each representing one major theme. This supported a more efficient discussion of analysis and drawing of conclusions in ways that clearly relate to the research objectives. The findings of this research show that HEIs consider the development of a range of students’ enterprise skills. However, the skills considered are generally focused around particular contexts, and are, thus, confined to certain parts of the curriculum rather than others. The research points out some gaps in the application of experiential learning approaches that possibly contribute to impeding the efficient development of graduate enterprise skills. In doing so, the research emphasises the importance of formally addressing the development of enterprise skills as part of schools’ strategies or philosophies in order to have them intentionally developed as part of the learning objectives across all modules by all academics.

In conclusion, this research highlights the significance of the context in developing enterprise skills, and shows how the contexts in which enterprise skills are developed affect the way in which these skills are demonstrated, as well as the ability to demonstrate those skills in other contexts. Accordingly, the research proposes two original models suggesting that the more a person is exposed to different contexts in which he/she is allowed the opportunity to develop enterprise skills, the more that person’s skills become transferable. Last but not least, the research proposes a third original model suggesting six essential aspects of experiential learning. This model will help in implementing experiential learning approaches more efficiently in ways that could overcome the several identified gaps, and, thus, enhance the value of these learning approaches as means to develop graduates’ enterprise skills.

Deema_Refai_Final_Thesis_-_Oct_2012.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (5MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email