Learning by doing in business education: Using hackathons as a way to improve the teaching and learning of entrepreneurial skills

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This study aims to shed light on the issues and processes associated with the use of hackathons to teach practice-based entrepreneurial skills to undergraduate students in the University of East Anglia’s Business School. The study benchmarks the pedagogical tools currently used to nurture above mentioned skills and how are they used and enhanced by the students participating in the hackathon called Sync the City.

The teaching of entrepreneurship skills is mostly dominated by theoretical approaches that do not teach students clear examples of what happen in the real world company. Many of the subjects taught in business schools favour the strategic/theoretical approach instead of an approach that is constructivist, i.e. where students learn from the reality they are surrounded with. Specifically, by using a hackathon to put into practice some soft/entrepreneurial skills, which are commonly assumed to be acquired at the university level.

The methodology to carry out this study is based on the use of some academic indicators and a semi-structure interviews with students, who have participated in Sync the City during the last four years. The information captured from the interviews is then analysed using NVivo to identify and examine word occurrences.

This is the first study of its kind attempting to fill the gap in using hackathons and a set of practice-based pedagogical tools to teach entrepreneurial skills in UK business schools.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages108
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018


  • hackathons
  • entrepreneurship
  • teaching
  • Sync the City
  • practice-based

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