Technology is disrupting businesses around the world, leaving no industry unturned. Naturally, digital disruption is making significant waves in the education industry too; in fact, as new technologies emerge and root themselves in the marketplace, schools and universities are figuring out ways to prepare students for a new type of workplace. And to stay relevant, they need to be at the forefront of change and innovation.
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As technology continues to change the way businesses operate at lightning speeds, so does executive learning course content. Institutions and new providers are grappling with the challenge of how to provide measurable learning experiences to time-poor executives who require flexibility. As a result, many universities and training providers are exploring the use of holograms and AI, particularly in the context of 1:1 learning.
Until a few years ago, business schools dominated the market with open and customised learning . Recently, however, the executive education landscape has broadened and now encompasses a whole range of different players, including strategic and human resources consultancies, corporate universities and remote personalised learning platforms.
In August 2019 Deloitte announced the launch of the Deloitte Alchemy School of Management, designed to provide executive education for senior leaders. The school will combine its practical business knowledge with experiential and immersive learning to create “customised” learning experiences.The school’s flagship course, the Global Executive Leadership Programme, will start in 2020, and will focus on the digital evolution.
Microlearning, which is essentially the delivery of short bursts of educational content, has been identified as an effective way of enhancing and deepening programme participants' learning outside the classroom.
More often than not technology is used to facilitate the production and delivery of microlearning, making it easy to access and comparably inexpensive. This method is well-suited to the modern executive, providing them with a higher level of autonomy over their learning and enabling them to fit learning around their other responsibilities.
It’s also a great way to make information “stick”. Learning in bite-sized pieces makes the transfer of learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient, according to the Journal of Applied Psychology.
In response to the trend for personalised learning experiences, coaching is becoming increasingly popular, with thousands of specialised providers and individual mentors offering flexible coaching hours and consultancy programmes. Again, this type of executive education can be delivered digitally over email, Skype and other communication platforms.
In an article for the Chartered Association of Business Schools, Dr Julie Lewis and Melanie Currie from Nottingham Business School explore how education providers can blend technology-driven and face-to-face approaches to curate the best learning experiences.
“...Students should also have access to inspirational people and role models from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds – real people they can actually talk to and learn from. For example, we know that female students are often higher achievers academically but can lack confidence out of university and often don’t fulfil their potential in the workplace for a whole range of reasons, why not give them opportunities to meet and be mentored by successful women in industry?
Aston Business School have run a successful Professional Development Programme for years, but recently realised that all students were participating in the same four course “streams”, regardless of background and goals.
So, they started to look at ways in which they could transform it from a “one-size-fits-all” to a more personalised offering. Aston realised that in order to do this they needed to focus on the future ambitions of individual students as opposed to their previous experiences.
With input from businesses, they identified five core workshops based on skills like resilience and produced a menu of choices, enabling learners to “tailor their development to their end goal.”
Opportunities for learning and up-skilling is one of the key things candidates look for in a company, and employers can only offer this effectively by working with executive education and skills training providers. It’s critical, therefore, that providers forge lasting relationships with their clients and become an integral part of their development process.
Executive education has never been more critical, as companies acknowledge that to survive in today’s politically and economically volatile climate, they need leadership and organisational skills that differ from those of the past. This poses huge opportunities for providers across the board, as long as they remain flexible and forward-thinking.
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