Learning is often assumed to be taking place during the entrepreneurship process (Corbett, 2005). We know very little, however, about how individuals learn in the nascent process, yet understanding this process is critical for understanding emergence (Harrison & Leitch, 2005). As Deakins (1999, p. 23) has observed “our limited knowledge and understanding of the interaction of learning and the entrepreneurial process remains one of the most neglected areas of entrepreneurial research, and thus, understanding.”

Individually the role of cognition and prior knowledge (e.g. Corbett, 2005; Corbett, 2007; Shane, 2000; Ward, 2004), networks (e.g. Hills et. al, 1997; Taylor & Thorpe, 2004) and learning-by-doing (e.g. Minniti & Bygrave, 2001; Politis, 2005) have been discussed in relation to entrepreneurial learning; their relationships to each other and the phases of the entrepreneurship process, however, have not been conceptualized. It is these three different influences to learning (cognition and prior knowledge, networks, and learning-by-doing) that we refer to as learning methods.