The entrepreneurship distinctive difficulties is aneducational evaluation and research method, focusing on student reflections andthings they consider difficult in the education.


Distinctive difficulties are challenges which studentsare likely to experience when being confronted with a specific educationalfield (Middendorf and Pace 2004). Within the field of entrepreneurshipeducation, the first time this concept has been used to my knowledge is whenSvensson (2021) categorized the type of difficulties into the theoreticalframeworks of cognitive learning theories and socio-cognitive learningtheories. Previous research has identified difficulties, distinctive toentrepreneurship such as dealing with high risk of failure (Shepherd, 2003),decision making under uncertainty (Sarasvathy, 2001) and emerging, complex anddynamic team-work (Nowell, 2021). Given the role of uncertainty inentrepreneurship, I believe that these distinctive difficulties are fundamentalfor entrepreneurship education, and the task of entrepreneurship educators thusbecomes to assist students to enjoy learning despite these difficulties, ratherthan to remove them or minimize them.

The method requires reflective assignments as aninput. All reflective assignments are to be entered into NVivo 1.6.1. As afirst data reduction step, one should conduct a stemmed word search of the worda number of words that could be associated with difficulties.

The list of words that were searched for wasDifficult,  Hard, Challenging, Weakness,Flaw, Failing, Struggle, Dysfunctional. Set the search for words function wereset to “Find with synonyms”. This will generate all chunks of texts related tothese words for coding. Grouping these chunks into categories will help theeducator to assess the difficulties that students have, and to designinterventions to reduce the likelihood for students to engage in unproductivelearning strategies.

As an input for the distinctive difficulties task,students should engage in weekly reflections on their learning experiences.They do not need to focus on difficulties per se, but could be generalreflections on the learnings during the week. The students should submit it ina word or PDF format in order to assure that the students sit down and reflectfluidly with a good amount of text.

Reflections are weekly assignments where you describethe project work during the week, which you have contacted and what ambitionsyou have for next week.

They should be 400-600 words long. It should containthe following type of topics:

  • New information that you did not knowbefore the week's teaching and which has now become known.
  • Lessons and insights that affect theproject's design and development. 
  • Personal lessons from the process, forexample, interaction with the outside world, group work, loop, concept development
  • Your submissions will be read by otherstudents and you will receive peer feedback. Formative feedback is alsoreceived from the course team.
  • The feedback on the reflections shouldfollow the format two stars and a wish. 

That is, focus primarily on what is good, and mentionsomething that has potential for improvement.

Hägg, G. (2021). The entrepreneurial diary–areflective learning activity to enhance the judgmental abilities of studententrepreneurs. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior &Research.

Kolb,A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancingexperiential learning in higher education.Academy of managementlearning & education,4(2), 193-212.