Economic Education

Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Education


Experimential and problem-based learning settings play an important role in the development of responsible (economic) citizens in general and in the context of economic education and entrepreneurship education in particular.

For example, students of economics and future teachers in economics should acquire competencies that not only enable them to take economically sensible decisions, but also to think and act in an ethically reflecive way. In this context, the still young concept of "Social Innovation Education" seems to be a promising learning approach.

The research program (so far) focuses on the development of social entrepreneurial competencies in the context of student extra-curricular engagement. As part of this research area, we developed the pedagogical foundations for teaching social enterpreneurial methods and learning materials (Wihlenda, 2020b; Wihlenda & Schönborn, 2020). In addition, the holistic learning systems will be evaluated using the World Citizen School project at the Weltethos-Institut as an example of a "Social Innovation School".

Research on social entrepreneurship and "Social Innovation Education" focuses on three dimensions:

a.) Institutional dimension: social-innovative learning systems

The learning system of the World Citizen School as a learning organization for global, social-innovative and value-based learning:

  • Wihlenda, M. (2018). The World Citizen School - A space for self-organized learning of socially engaged student initiatives. Journal of higher education development, 13(2), 141-145.
  • Wihlenda, M. (2020a). The world citizen school model. In M. Wihlenda, T. Brahm, & L. Greger (Eds.), Social innovation education. Transformative learning for higher education institutions (pp. 121-142). Tübingen: Tübingen Library Publishing.

b.) Teaching dimension: social-innovative action as an exploratory learning process

  • Wihlenda, M., & Brahm, T. (in preparation). The Social Innovation Camp - Fostering social entrepreneuring as a process.
  • Wihlenda, M. (2020b). Social Innovation Education. Toolbox (SIE-T). In M. Wihlenda, T. Brahm, & L. Greger (Eds.), Social Innovation Education. Transformative learning programs for higher education (pp. 179-186). Tübingen: Tübingen Library Publishing.

Learning material:

  • Wihlenda, M. & Schönborn, J. (2020). Social innovation education - Toolbox (1). Tübingen: World Citizen Publishing.

c.) Higher education policy dimension: social entrepreneurship competencies in student initiatives and social startups

  • Wihlenda, M., Brahm, T., & Habisch, A. (in perparation). Social Responsibilty in Higher Education. Social Enterpreneurial Competences of Civically-Engaged Students.