MOBI Examines Curriculum Preferences of Online Entrepreneurship Learners and the Impact of Language and Location
The My Own Business Institute (MOBI) has completed the first in a series of studies examining curriculum preferences of online entrepreneurship learners. MOBI Executive Director and Leavey School of Business Professor of Information Systems and Analytics Drew Starbird, Ph.D. led the study and summarized the research and findings in a paper entitled, “The Impact of Language and Location on the Curriculum Preferences of Online Entrepreneurship Students: An Application of Google Analytics,” which appeared in the January issue of Education Sciences, an international peer-reviewed open access journal published by MDPI (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute).
“Entrepreneurship training is a key area of focus for many educators. While there have been many studies investigating curriculum preferences and pedagogy for entrepreneurship education, very few have been conducted outside the framework of an educational institution where the pedagogy is asynchronous and the curriculum and engagement are solely determined by the learner,” said Drew Starbird, Ph.D., MOBI Executive Director. “The consistent high traffic of learners to the free online entrepreneurship curriculum featured on MOBI’s website provides an unique opportunity for study in this area with the objective of improving curriculum and supporting entrepreneurship around the world.”
The study was conducted based upon the behavior of website visitors self-selecting MOBI’s curriculum topics as measured by Google Analytics. Each year over 420,000 learners of various ages representing approximately 100 different countries visit the MOBI website to learn about entrepreneurship. MOBI hosts its free content on both English (www.scu.edu/mobi) and Spanish (www.scu.edu/mobiespanol) websites. MOBI offers learners two ways to engage with its curriculum: they can create an account and register for an online course with predetermined topics, or they can select topics from a variety of courses that interest them the most. Both options are free to learners and self-paced through independent asynchronous study. Learners pursuing the second option are known as “ad hoc” learners and are the source of study for this research. Starbird and his MOBI team utilized information collected by Google Analytics to study the interactions of ad hoc learners with various topic pages on the website between September 1, 2020 and August 31, 2021.
For the purposes of this initial study, interactions included were limited to ad hoc learners visiting the English and Spanish web pages hosting the 15 topics, or sessions, that comprise MOBI’s most popular Starting a Business course. While many factors contribute to curriculum preferences, this research focused on two key dimensions: the language of the content and the location of the learner.
A key objective is described in the paper, “Our hope is that the results of this analysis will provide insight into the influence of cultural context and language on the effectiveness of online learning and, especially, online entrepreneurship training.”
Metrics examined include Pageviews of Starting a Business sessions in English and Spanish, Average Time on Page of Starting a Business sessions in English and Spanish, Pageviews of Ad Hoc Learners by Region, Average Time on Page of Ad Hoc Learners by Region, and more.
The research indicates that the language and location of online entrepreneurship learners may indeed have an impact on curriculum preferences. Professor Starbird found statistically significant differences both in the interests and engagement of learners interactive with Spanish content compared to those interactive with English content, and in the interests and engagement of learners when examined separately by location. Discussion of data, findings, and analysis are included, and several suggestions for further research are also cited in the paper that has been published by Education Sciences. The study was submitted for peer review in late 2021 and accepted by the journal earlier this year. Professor Starbird was assisted by the MOBI team in this project. MOBI is part of the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
“We are excited by the findings of this study,” states Starbird. “As we continue to examine the wealth of data provided by the online interactions of our learners, we look forward to uncovering new ways to promote entrepreneurship training to best meet the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere.”
“The Impact of Language and Location on the Curriculum Preferences of Online Entrepreneurship Students: An Application of Google Analytics” can be viewed online at: https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12020080 .
Image: The map above illustrates a sampling of MOBI student locations in 2021 where countries and US states are represented by their capitals.