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FLIPPING PROJECT-BASED LEARNING FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP
M.Y. Zarouk 1, Maria José Angélico Gonçalves2, Maria da Graça de Albuq.
Barreto Bigotte Chorão2, Sandra Patrícia Marques Ribeiro2, Cândida Silva3,
1Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (PORTUGAL)
2Polythecnic of Porto/ISCAP (PORTUGAL)
3Polythecnic of Porto/ESHT (PORTUGAL)
Schools need to prepare higher education students to meet the challenges of working in an ever-
changing, technology-driven society by helping them to develop the higher-level thinking and
entrepreneurial skills that they will need in the 21st century. That leads to a shift in the education
paradigm from lecture-based teaching methods to student-centered learning methods. Besides,
entrepreneurship has expanded to new concepts where entrepreneurship becomes a lifelong learning
competency. In this sense, this paper proposed a pedagogical designing and the implementation of a
case study teaching for entrepreneurship education. The case study is conducted as project-based
learning in a gamified flipped classroom. Multiple embedded case studies have being instrumentalized
within a student-centered learning environment based on the learning management system Moodle.
Keywords: Flipped classroom, project-based learning, self-regulated learning, entrepreneurship
education, gamification, higher education.
The rapid growth of technology has sparked a revolution in the world of education, so the future is even
more uncertain. Likewise, our societies then require more entrepreneurial students with various higher-
level thinking skills, often referred to as 21st century skills, along with proficiency in their core skills.
Therefore, the gap between what students are being taught and the skills needed for success continues
to widen. In this sense, the World Economic Forum recently updated the top ten skills needed to be
effective and efficacious in the new economy . Studies also highlighted that most of the employers
felt that critical thinking, complex problem solving, project management, collaboration, and
communication skills were more important than a candidate’s major .
Nowadays, the theory of entrepreneurship has expanded to new concepts where entrepreneurship is
not only considered for its concerns for business success and benefits but also for personal welfare and
noneconomic well‐being which people can achieve through their capabilities . Although much has
been written about this topic, universities around the world are still searching for new methods and
practical tools, in a way that emphasizes “learning by doing” which should accelerate student mastery
of emergent related skills and competencies . In other words, schools need to prepare students to
meet the challenges of working in an ever-changing, technology-driven society, by helping them to
develop the higher-level thinking skills that they will need when they enter the workforce. That leads to
a shift in education from teaching to facilitation; a move from ‘traditional’ education focused on a ‘chalk
and talk’ methodology, to one which encourages young people to challenge ideas and develop skills .
In this regards, different approaches have been implemented within the teaching and learning process
to facilitate learner development. Student-centered approaches offer proven strategies to transfer skill
competency in creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication, the 4Cs that serve as the
foundation for the 21st century learning framework. Student skills such as adopting thinking tools for
sagacity, learning to use project management principles to reduce risk and as a process to manage
ambiguity, learning how to develop prototypes to prove concepts, learning how to collaborate and
access collective intelligence, learning how to build effective teams, and learning how to make a
successful pitch on the value of a project should be structural and explicitly integrated in the curriculum
This paper is structured into three different sections. First, the theoretical background of the study
including the main concepts in which the study is grounded: 21st century skills, entrepreneurship
education, self-regulated project-based learning, and gamified flipped classroom. Next, we move onto
the presentation of the proposed case for entrepreneurship education: business models and customer
development, its generic structure, workflow/timeline, and class roadmaps. Finally, a short
demonstration of the online platform including the instrumentalization process of the theoretical
framework, how the classes are flipped and description of the course interface.
2 THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
Higher education institutions become more entrepreneurial, work is becoming more modularized and
structured in projects. That requires students with project management skills and an entrepreneurial
spirit, along with proficiency in their core skills .
2.1 Entrepreneurship Education
Entrepreneurship is the art of being an entrepreneur, so to be able to turn ideas into action. Nowadays,
the theory of entrepreneurship has expanded to new concepts where entrepreneurship is not only
considered for its concerns for business success and benefits but also personal welfare and
noneconomic well‐being .
Entrepreneurship can be taught and learned
Drucker  thinks that “Most of what you hear about entrepreneurship is all wrong. It is not magic; it is
not mysterious, and it has nothing to do with genes. It is a discipline and, like any other discipline, it can
be learned”. Furthermore, It can be taught and learned through integrated and structured
entrepreneurship educational activities. Through practice and experience, students are trained to
acquire entrepreneurial traits .
EE and PBL
Studies generally support the notion that PBL, premised upon an active learning and multi-solution
approach, shares many similar characteristics as the interdisciplinary and “learning-by-doing” approach
of entrepreneurship education . Project-based learning (PBL) is based on tutorial groups in which
students work together on a specific project in order to solve problems. It is suitable for entrepreneurial
learning environment. It offers numerous opportunities for entrepreneurship education. PBL is an
efficient pattern for preparing students for entrepreneurship because in the process of solving and
managing problems they can develop their necessary entrepreneurship competencies .
2.2 Project-Based Learning
According to Swart , “PBL is defined as an important method used to help students acquire the
necessary knowledge, vital skills, and citizenship values for the 21st century”. Through PBL, students
are no longer passive “consumers of knowledge,” but are becoming active “creators of knowledge.” By
partaking in PBL, students develop soft skills while gaining experience working in interdisciplinary
PBL implementing and the Facilitator’s role
Implementing PBL will demand to shift the teaching methodology because the students are not given
anymore the right answer that they have to remember. Contrariwise, they are stimulated to find solutions
from real-life experiences. Similarly, PBL changes the professor’s role as well, becoming a tutor and
facilitator. This role is an innovation for the most teachers, they will not have to focus on transmitting
knowledge about and for entrepreneurship in this case, but to act as guides throughout the learning
activities and to be an incentive and motivate the students to learn and develop new competencies by
themselves . The facilitator factor has a critical role in designing and implementing the PBL learning
Self-regulated learner in project-based learning
The most appealing idea in PBL is for the student to learn “how to think” . That helps to remedy this
detrimental situation by providing opportunities for students to use higher level thinking skill. According
to English and Kitsantas , PBL methodology emerged from the socio-constructivist theories of
learning based on self-directed learning and self-regulated learning.' After being engaged in a PBL
environment, students feel like they have “learned how to learn”.
Moreover, this methodology improves both students’ collective and individual capacities as well, having
a significant impact on the final results . At the individual level, self-regulated learning (SRL) is
proposed as a valid way to learn in entrepreneurial projects. SRL is effective in increasing academic
performance . It can be assumed that SRL is even more effective in situations where guidance and
monitoring of others are trying. These situations can arise when the learning goal is ambiguous, can
change dynamically, and needs to be formulated internally. These conditions apply to the
entrepreneurial context .
This kind of learning strategies, when applied in blended learning and mainly in the flipped classroom,
provides an active learning mechanism by which students can monitor their learning process and
evaluate the most appropriate learning strategies to achieve their goals. Moreover, the students who
learned with the self-regulated flipped classroom approach showed higher performance in goal setting,
task strategies, time management, help-seeking, and self-regulation .
2.3 Gamified Flipped Classroom
The flipped classroom is often defined as an instructional strategy, where the students understand and
comprehend the instructional contents before attending class. In-class activities are subsequently more
focused on promoting students’ higher-order thinking skills or knowledge construction .
The flipped classroom pedagogical method is an emerging active learning trend that is likely to enter
mainstream higher education . It has brought about a paradigm shift in educational technology,
where flipped learning has reversed the ownership of learning from educators to students. Students
learn through hands-on learning experiences and inquiry that foster students’ competence in critical
thinking, creative problem-solving and teamwork engagement .
Flipped Classroom and project-Based learning
Besides, there is no contradiction between project-based learning and flipped learning. Even though,
The flipped learning method can create meaningful opportunities for project-based learning .
Gamifying the flipped classroom
At the same time, some students who have been very comfortable with the conventional instruction may
not engage with enthusiasm to study autonomously, especially outside of class . In other words, only
instructing students to watch a video or read a course material outside the class may be a recipe for
failure in the flipped classroom. Thus, we believe that the implementation of a new extension of the
conventional flipped classroom model is required by integrating another innovative strategy such as
game-elements or gamification concept . The gamified flipped classroom is conducted to fill the gap
of the conventional flipped classroom, where students do not do the pre-class assignments becomes a
The gamification concept in the flipped classroom is used through motivating students’ mastery the pre-
class contents, enhancing students’ independent learning skills, and fostering students’ critical thinking
skills. Positive learning outcomes reported in the gamified flipped classroom. ‘ This concept might be
useful in promoting the 21st-century learning skills .
3 THE CASE, BUSINESS MODELS AND CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT
This section is the cognitive layer of the proposed approach. It is the complementary part of the case
study research design. The case study teaching could be structured with a broad range of topics being
taught and conducted according to a theoretical framework of self-regulated project-based learning (ref
chapter). Application of PBL in entrepreneurial education offers students numerous opportunities such
− the acquisition of knowledge and practical skills along with entrepreneurial activity,
− forming teamwork abilities,
− developing spoken and written communication skills,
− developing abilities for solving problems,
− Collaboration between students and teachers.
In entrepreneurial education, PBL can be successfully applied in the elaboration of joint projects:
developing business models and preparing business plans. A widespread example of the EE program
is the Lean LaunchPad initiative that applies the principles of customer development  and Lean
Startup to technology-based startup projects. Such a course design has been adopted by the US
National Science Foundation .
The course “Business Models and Customer Development” being proposed for this study, is not only
used as an approach that is applied by more and more entrepreneurs worldwide, but it also becomes a
framework entrepreneurship education. In a more extended class design, all or most aspects of a
business model canvas or a lean canvas are analyzed empirically. BMC as group-based experiential
learning is a setting in which students gain knowledge and skills about entrepreneurship in a context
that is modeled rather closely to what real entrepreneurs need to know and do.
In this study, the case designing is underpinned in the following components:
1 Generic structure: consists of the repartition of the BMC course units in acaccordance with the
theoretical framework of self-regulated project-based learning.
2 Workflow/Timeline: it is the chaining of the structural classes and specific allocation of the course
units through a timeline.
3 Class roadmaps: define clearly the class activities assigned to each stakeholder (students and
facilitators) before and in class.
3.1 Generic Structure
The generic structure (Figure. 1) is designed by the same ergonomic colors chosen for the theoretical
framework for self-regulated learning project-based learning  on which the case studies are
conducted according to. This latter is cyclical and composed of three phases. Forethought phase units
in blue, performance phase units in red and reflection phase units in green. The idea is to couple the
BMC course units within the SRPBL framework phases and activities.
Figure 1. Generic structure of the flipped project-based learning course on
"Business models and customer development."
3.1.1 Forethought phase
This is the initial phase of project-based learning. It consists of the following steps:
• Presentation of the teaching and learning approach that could take the form of an online or face-
to-face lecture by the facilitator to all the students, by the presentation of the generic structure,
course timeline/workflow, and class roadmaps. In addition to explicit guidelines of pbl and flipped
• An introduction to the course “business models and customer development.”
• Project ideation and teamwork building, the order of these steps is interchangeable, and it is up
to the facilitator to decide mainly based on students' maturity in this kind of online course.
• Demonstration of the online learning platform.
3.1.2 Performance phase
It is the core of the project lifecycle. It serves to the problem solving by the realization of the business
model of the project idea. It is an iterative phase of the different nine items in the business model canvas.
Following the order mentioned in the structure (Figure. 3), teams may tackle one or more items per class
(node) according to the proposed course workflow. For this aim, students work individually and
collectively to test their hypothesizes adopting the customer development method explained by the
facilitator beforehand. During each class students as teams are assigned every class to do presentations
of the current versions of the business model canvas, report their progress and verbalize their choices
and decisions. This phase is gradually being completed by the accumulation of different versions of
business models canvas. It is marked achieved by the completion of the final Business Model Canvas
of the project idea (case study).
3.1.3 Reflection phase
This phase comes just after the development of the problem solution, which consists of the shaping of
the final business model canvas of each project. All teams are invited to do a deck pitch of the final
versions solution. Then these steps are followed by a feedback session in order to come up and report
such meaningful lessons learned throughout the whole learning experience. Finally, the phase is
concluded by the project closing session.
The proposed structure is mostly flexible and adaptable to different contexts according to the available
period being devoted to the case studies, number of teams, magnitude of the institution, availability of
facilitators among others.
3.2 Workflow and timeline
It is based on the generic structure (Figure. 4). The workflow/timeline (Figure. 2) describes the chaining
of the structural units in the form of classes and their allocations over time. In the figure below (Figure.
3). A node marks a class. All nodes are ordered marking the chaining of different classes along the
course workflow. Each node has a title defining the class objectives. All classes are mutually dependents
and gradually lead to the performing of a particular project by teamwork. This latter is working individually
and collectively according to the self-regulated project-based learning approach to deal with the problem
as a project (case study).
Figure 2. Workflow of the flipped project-based learning course on
"Business models and customer development."
In principle, the workflow is flexible and extensible according to the generic structure and the theoretical
framework. For instance, the case study timeline may be extended over a long period, until a semester.
In this study, we proposed a workflow of 7 classes, a class per week. Namely, we devoted two classes
(two weeks) for the forethought phase. The performance phase lasts four weeks of 4 Classes, dealing
with different blocks of the Business Model Canvas and implicitly adopting customer development
method to gradually test and validate predefined hypotheses and propositions of each item in the
canvas. The reflection phase takes place in the last class. It serves to the presentation of the final
solution proposed by each teamwork, then an open discussion on the whole course activities for the aim
to verbalize and interfere lessons learned from different case studies and learning experiences. This
session is prepared and moderated by the facilitator who is charge to close the course formally.
The designing of a specific workflow/timeline is recommended to be defined mainly by the facilitator
according to the available resources, environment, and objectives of the course topics being taught.
Facilitators have to establish a timeline according to the generic structure of three phases, keeping in
mind the higher-level layer of the approach by also preparing, material, techniques, and methods
supporting student higher-level thinking skills mentioned before. Besides, the facilitator(s) have to define
for each class structured items, calendaring of the classes, objectives, necessary resources, activities,
and assignments before and during each class. This step is concretely shaped in the form of specific
roadmaps of every single class.
3.3 Class roadmaps (flipped classroom)
The class roadmaps designing is inspired from the course material of Steve Blank “Launchpad” available
on this website (https://steveblank.com/). The standard class roadmap bellow tends to describe specific
class’ activities and their allocation to different stakeholders, students, and facilitators. The diagram
shows which units in the generic structure are being tackled. Each roadmap is a detailed projection over
every single node of the case study workflow/timeline presented previously (Figure. 2).
According to the standard roadmap (Figure. 3), It evident that the approach is student-centered. We can
notice on the figure the student’s activity colored in orange is predominant on the map in comparison to
the facilitator’s activity colored in blue. Most of the student’s activity is concentrated before the class. In
class, it is focused on the discussion and reflection on the team’s outcomes. That allows us to develop
higher-level thinking skills with the moderation and the guiding of the facilitator.
All students should be informed about the teaching/learning approach in the first class, and also provided
with a specific roadmap of the current class. In principle, facilitators provide students with the necessary
material, including the class roadmap before getting to the class. All these handouts are available and
managed within the online platform.
Figure 3. Standard class roadmap of the flipped project-based learning course on
"Business models and customer development."
Description of a standard class roadmap
Each class is organized around students’ hypothesis-testing their business model assumptions outside
the classroom. The class roadmaps are designed according to the flipped classroom principles.
Individually as collectively, students guided by facilitators have accomplished two steps: “before class”,
and “in class”.
“Before Class” activities:
• individually accomplish the reading assignment for the upcoming ‘in class,’
• collaboratively participate in the on the online available on the reading asassignment document
(via Perusall tool),
• optionally benefit from additional resources such as videos, tutorials, articles, etc.
• capture their “customer discovery” progress in the platform and updating their Business Model
• take notes of what they learned and assembling a teamwork presentation.,
• engage with their facilitators,
• prepare a presentation on Business Model Canvas,
• submit a presentation assignment through the platform.
“In Class” activities:
• do the presentation in front of facilitator and peers;
• actively listen to comments and suggestions from the facilitator after their presentations.
• participate in the summary feedback session animated by the facilitator based on student’s
annotations upon the reading assignment before the class and team presentation in class.
• listen to the introductory lecture of the upcoming class objectives and assignments
• discuss the next class preparation (Q/A session) after the facilitator lecture
In summary, students are expected to iteratively have an updated version of their entire Business Model
Canvas every week, but their customer discovery process should focus only on the objectives being
defined for the current week’s class.
4 THE IMPLEMENTATION: SRPBL PLATFORM
Some specific PBL environments already exist, but the need for additional dedicated PBL environments
continues to increase as the emphasis on teaching 21st century skills through the PBL becomes more
widespread and prevalent in the education system. In PBL environments, teachers present a
situation that their students are interested in or can identify with. Students then identify the problems in
the given situation, brainstorm to solve these problems, test and communicate their solutions.
For this study, we have chosen the Learning Management System Moodle for the implementation of the
case studies. The moodle-based platform is designed as being a student-centered learning environment
. The platform is fully customized to support the theoretical framework of self-regulated project-based
learning , coupled with the flipped classroom method including the case components described
before, generic structure (Figure. 1), workflow/timeline and different class roadmaps (Figure. 3). The
platform is featured with the main pre-installed functionalities within Moodle, in addition to some
additional plugins. The Instrumentalization and the implementation of the theoretical framework are
done according to the following steps:
• Definition a grid of accordance for the instrumentalization of the pedagogical components;
• Scenarization of the gamified and flipped project-based learning classroom according to generic
structure, workflow/timeline, and class roadmaps.
For the aim to instrumentalize all the theoretical framework components described before within the
online platform, we developed a grid of correspondence between the technical tool and pedagogical
components. The grid (Table 1) serves as the grounding of the implementation of the case studies within
the learning management system Moodle.
Table 1. Grid of correspondence for instrumentation of the flipped project-based learning course
within the Learning Management System Moodle.
Usage and description
Teamwork, group of student around a project (case study)
Class, composed of different teamwork dealing with different projects (Embedded
multiple case studies)
Class, set of activities, resources, and assignments related to a class, a section is
divided into two parts: “before class” and “in class.”
Used for each resource or activity, and it defines the condition that marks it as
and Learning Plans
Competencies to be defined for each class by the facilitator and then learning plans.
Used to allow the student to submit either their individual or group assignment before the
An alternative of a simple assignment that mainly adds the peer-assessment method
For the discussion and announcement, a single topic in the forum is devoted to every
single class and so on
Handouts of necessary resources and guidelines related to each class for students and
Internal files such as the lecture document of facilitators.
Folder of teamwork files submitted as assignments before class, and also used to
organize facilitators’ teaching material
display resources and activities for students that have not the permission to get access
to (such the facilitators’ lectures)
Used in different places to embedded handouts and resources, such as “Course
Workflow” in the general area, or questionnaires
Link to external resources, mainly used to integrate Google tools such as docs, sheets,
forms, and YouTube videos…
Perusall (LTI tool)
Reading assignment tool before class, allows students and facilitators to collaboratively
annotate and comments on course material ahead of the class. also enables the
facilitator to assess student reading assignments, by generating automatic reports on
An audio/video conference tool for the weekly meeting before class, it is an alternative of
a face-to-face meeting
A tool to remind students of their assignments
Gamification tool displays the course progress of each student and teamwork in
comparison to other teamwork in the class
Gamification tool based on points gained along with the course participation of each,
teamwork in comparison with all others teamwork. Also, it offers a leaderboards tool
Permit to organize the display of different section according to the course workflow
Google Tools (docs,
sheets, drive, forms…)
Used for external resources via the URL and Pages Moodle resources
Used by each teamwork as a Kanban board of their project
Exabis E-Portfolio (to
Permit to create individual and collective of the learning portfolio; it is the collection of all
outcomes and artifacts produced along the course
4.2 Perusall tool: implementing the flip
The tool “Perusall” is used to increase students’ engagement with the subject once classes are over.
We designed an online reading assignment to foster student engagement in an authentic manner
outside classes. The assignments were designed as group-based activities based on Vygotsky’s idea
of the zone of proximal development and peer learning .
We integrated Perusall LTI tool into the LMS Moodle. Once it is set up Perusall as an LTI app inside the
LMS, students will be able to launch Perusall through their LMS without having to log into Perusall
As a tool, Perusall was an excellent platform for such assignments to engaging students outside of class
time. The impact of using online, collaborative reading assignments on student learning outcomes
certainly warrants further exploration and in-depth analysis. It has shown that online reading discussions
are an effective mechanism to engage students in a flipped classroom, also found a positive relationship
between students’ conceptual learning and the quality of their participation in the online discussion .
Perusall’s assignment engagement scores use “gamification” to improve the out-of-class learning
process, encouraging students to interact with and learn from the material and each other. Perusall’s
goal is to help every student get full credit for this part of the class.
4.3 SRPBL interface
According to the grid of correspondence and based upon the pedagogical components of the case study
design: theoretical framework, generic structure, workflow and timeline, and classes’ roadmaps, we
could appropriately instrumentalize an online course of “Business Models and Customer Development.”
The course lasts over seven classes and a class per week.
A course tends to hold multiples case studies. Every single project allocated to teamwork around a
problem to solve is considered a case study. Multiple case studies are instanced from different and
separated groups working on their project idea and managing their team members. Hereafter a short
presentation of the platform interface.
Figure 4. The interface of an online platform for a flipped project-based learning course on
"Business models and customer development."
A general and shared section offer activities and resources of the course visible alongside all the course
activities and managed separately by every single teamwork and facilitator. The phase is composed of
one or several sections and defined using additional plugins of Moodle. An activity is composed of a set
of all necessary resources, activities, and assignments. Activities are related to each other using the
“Activity completion” feature. Each activity is in form divided into two parts: before the class and during
the case. Each part includes the necessary resources and activities.
Besides, several Gamification mechanics are laid in the course using different plugins and features,
such as points, progress, leaderboards, badge, etc. Also, we assigned a competency framework and
then created a meaningful learning plan alongside the course activities.
5 CONCLUSIONS AND FUTURE RESEARCH
In this study, we proposed pedagogical designing and the implementation of a case study for
entrepreneurship education. The case is conducted according to a project-based learning process in a
gamified flipped classroom context. The case study methodology used in this study is for explanatory
and improving the theoretical framework. Namely, this work is the basis of ongoing research for the
conducting of multiple case studies in different disciplines such as computer programming, language
learning, information systems, etc. Additionally, out-comes of conducted case studies are analyzed to
examine the impact of the proposed framework on students’ performance, and later on, serves for the
designing and development of an integrated learning analytics layer supporting the proposed
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