Enhancing Entrepreneurship Education in Engineering Students to Increase Their Metacognitive Abilities: Analysis of Student Self-Assessments
It has been widely accepted that the discipline-specific professional knowledge of engineering graduates alone is not sufficient for a successful career. Thus, it is becoming increasingly important to enhance also the abilities of a person to apply the knowledge into the real-world environments, characterized by change, complexity and uncertainty. The on-going scientific discussion has addressed this by sharing an importance of development of meta-cognitive abilities in education, enabling to foster entrepreneurship and employability of engineering students. This can be achieved thru appropriately focused and systematic entrepreneurship education programs in universities, while the goal of such programs is to facilitate students’ preparedness for an enterprising life in the future. Moreover, it is acknowledged that any person should be able to benefit from entrepreneurship education programs even if not starting their own company, as the focus is on increasing the creativity, self-efficacy, systematic thinking, awareness about opportunities and learning to learn. Hence, persons who understand what they know and understand how to control their own learning are also more likely to understand how to apply what they have learned.
The aim of the current paper is to further develop the scientific discussion on the development of metacompetencies of engineering-students through entrepreneurship education, with an emphasis towards metacognition and providing suggestions for the
development of entrepreneurship courses with the aim of increasing the level of metacognitive abilities and awareness of students. Previous research on metacognition has largely concentrated on theoretically defining components of metacognition, explaining the relationship between the metacognitive awareness and propensity to start entrepreneurial careers, as well as on the importance of metacognition in learning. At the same time the amount of necessary empirical evidence is still limited. Current research is an attempt to contribute into the empirical analysis of self-assessment of metacognitive abilities of students with different personal characteristics, study level and disciplines. The study includes a quantitative survey using Likert scale. The results have been analysed with the means of linear statistical analysis for evaluating the level of students’ metacognitive abilities and K-means clustering method for identifying groups of high- and low-achieving students.
The results of study have confirmed that the differences and weaknesses in metacognitive awareness of students from different study levels and disciplines need to be considered when planning entrepreneurship courses. The article is contributing to the development of the courses of entrepreneurship education based on improving the weakest components of students’ metacognitive abilities. In addition, the study contends that the issues of study environment and motivation of students are important factors to consider when designing entrepreneurship courses.