Future of the University. Georgia Tech 2040

Future of the University. Georgia Tech 2040

Georgia Tech has taken a shot at anticipating its identity and function as a university in 2040. The report “Deliberate Innovation, Lifetime Education” describes five initiatives and long-term projects. See full text of the report here.

summary (text Christian Guijosa)

Initiative 1: Personal integral education

Development of new educational programs that teach cognitive skills such as problem solving or creativity; interpersonal skills such as communication and leadership; and intrapersonal skills, for example, adaptability and discipline.

  • Generate experiential learning in relevant contexts.
  • Develop critical thinking skills and collaboration in multicultural environments.
  • Achieve that university graduates have research-oriented training, similar to that of postgraduate.

Initiative 2: Generation of new products and services

  • The report proposes to generate flexible educational experiences and provoke continuous learning through:
  • Creation of micro-credentials, including badges, certifications, and micro degrees.
  • Compact courses within periods called “Minimesters,” which can be taken along with traditional semesters to cover special educational needs.
  • Blockchain technology that allows students to demonstrate their learning and achievements in credentials to potential employers.

Initiative 3: Advising for a new era

Experts from the Georgia Tech believe that a robust learning database and artificial intelligence assistants will accompany the student educational experience in a lifelong learning model.

It also proposes the creation of Personal Board of Directors to create professional networks dedicated to students.

Initiative 4: Artificial Intelligence and Personalization

Introduce the use of Artificial Intelligence and personalization through:

  • Pilot tests of adaptive learning platforms to provide students with personalized educational experiences.
  • Development of virtual multifunctional tutors that act as coaches or mentors.

Initiative 5: Distributed global presence

Georgia Tech proposes the decentralization of education on a physical campus, to establish online spaces and hybrid spaces; physical places that serve as real and virtual portals at the service of students.

Besides, it aims for the development of human libraries. Having access to the experience of individuals, rather than books. That is, students could interact with specialists and experts when they inquire about a topic, in addition to having access to traditional textbooks.

These initiatives require a plan to change the culture within the universities that favor and inculcates innovation, in addition to making decision and commitment. Although this strategy is specific to the Georgia Institute of Technology, it is an invaluable guide to understand what path universities will take in the coming years.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning
‘MicroMasters’ Surge As MOOCs Go From Education To Qualification

‘MicroMasters’ Surge As MOOCs Go From Education To Qualification

The future shape of graduate and executive education is coming into focus with the surge of “MicroMasters” certificate programs on edX, to which 1.7 million students have registered in a year. The number of programs on offer has exploded from one to 46 during this time.

This is the kind of extraordinary exponential growth that rips apart and rebuilds industries.

MicroMasters certificates (MMs) are online, examined and graded, credit-eligible graduate-level courses that involve about a quarter of the coursework of a traditional Masters degree. At edX they cost about $1,000.

A Harvard-MIT MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) collaboration since 2012, edX has along the way also amalgamated Stanford and UC Berkeley’s homegrown MOOC options, all now rolled into a not-for-profit 501c3 that co-develops online programs in association with 25 universities and academic providers worldwide, most of which are top-brand institutions.

For now, there’s a strong focus on new technology skills areas—data science, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, robotics—these being current hot-spots for recruitment. But edX also offers MicroMasters in more standard business areas such as project management, supply chain management, marketing analytics, and hospitality, and there’s no reason not to expect a quick spread across the sciences, medicine, arts and beyond, as well as into other languages. edX already has two MMs in Spanish.

In an interview with forbes.com, edX CEO and MIT professor Anant Agarwal speaks of the vision to widen and democratize the education funnel. Anyone can access it, almost everyone can buy it, and MMs convert to full Master’s degree credits (a requirement that academic-partner providers must be able to offer.)

But, as important as expanding educational access  is, what’s at stake here is even more radical and future-disruptive. Because, it’s apparent most students won’t pursue the full degree. They’ll walk with the MM.

The reason they can easily do this is because of the third player in the edX MM system, the employer. Each MicroMasters is sponsored by at least one industry partner, currently a list of 40 which includes GE, MicroSoft, IBM, Hootsuite, Fidelty, Bloomberg, Boeing, WalMart, PWC, Booz-Allen Hamilton, and Ford.

Employers are not an afterthought, hopefully persuadable by the university’s Careers Office to mop up students after graduation. Here companies are baked into the setup. An MM is a three-way arrangement between educator, student and employer.

For example, in Massachusetts GE guarantees at least a full-time job or internship interview at the company’s Boston headquarters for residents who complete MMs in AI, cyber security, cloud computing or supply chain management. Microsoft has committed to contribute toward the cost for any Community College student to complete the entry level Computer Science Professional Certificate program on edX.

With this nod from hiring companies, MMs become sufficient credential for a career step. This is a huge reframe for what counts as a valid qualification, therein a real shakeup at the pillars of graduate schools.

MOOCs have successfully entered the game not just of education, but of qualification.

In the world of MOOC qualification, the front-loaded learning of a traditional Masters fragments into iterative stepping stones of credentialing. These are smaller, faster, units of study that span a person’s working life. As one MM provides the skills to get a job, so the next one will up-skill her to maintain and evolve the position, or get a promotion, or transition to a new job.

Mindful of a fast-changing world, iterative learning suits both employee and the firm. Neither expects sufficient ongoing capability to come from early career one-shot learning.

Says Agarwal: “Learning once and working for the next 30 years is obsolete; we need to move to an world where re-skilling becomes part of the culture. The MicroMasters as a standalone modular credential serves as academic currency in a continuous, lifelong-learning world.”

In certain fields (medicine, law, architecture etc.) a new entrant will no doubt still need a large upfront chunk of knowledge. But in many other areas, two or more years of front-loaded professional education is starting to look a little quaint.

If this is right, MM qualifications are going to take a huge bite out of the market for traditional-length Masters programs and will also jostle traditional Open and Custom executive education business models.

Schools such as MIT and others involved on the edX platform are laudably taking the long view, part-cannibalizing their traditional model now so as to create a foothold in education industry markets of the future.

This foothold includes embracing the logic of the platform, the digital-enabled connector that seeks to add value or cut costs by creating connections where these were previously weak or non-existent.

Just as Uber sells taxi rides without owning cars or booking.com sells hotel rooms without owning any buildings (while also mercilessly sharpening the cost-benefit equation) so edX is a platform play. It owns no universities and no courses. Its business is being the stage on which educators, students, and employers connect.

Not surprising then, that edX’s new president and COO, Adam Medros, was previously Senior Vice President, Global Product at the travel platform TripAdvisor. He’s hired precisely for his platform expertise, and says a big part of what the edX platform builds itself around, as other platforms do, is “access.”

For Medros, access is not just global availability or affordability, but access in the sense of education being there and possible in a way it is otherwise not for over-worked professionals, dual-working parents and others in the time-crunch category.

Such people can access the learning they need, and juggle it into their schedule. In this market “we’ve crossed from early-adopters to a tipping point,” he says.

“Delivering for consumers at scale will be the next revolution that happens in this industry.

“In the early days (of the travel industry transition, as viewed from TripAdvisor management) there were lots of different solutions, some of which had a good fit with consumer needs and some of which were experimental.

“You’re changing not just consumer habits but also industry incumbent habits: how they run their business and how they configure their product. There is not one given model.

“But we will see the industry coalesce around principles that edX represents,” says Medros.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning, Workplace

Education Leaders Could Learn Sideways From Sectors Further Ahead

First published in Forbes Leadership July 24, 2017. Most leaders never learn that predictive modeling is a false prophet in fast-changing industries, the siren that lulls them to sleep even as their companies smash on the rocks of outdated assumptions.

But for the few willing to kick addiction to false certainties and grapple with the many rich qualitative approaches to anticipating change, one of the best is “learning sideways,” that is, absorbing the shape and pace of change from analogous industries which are further down the road.

A great example of this is offered by Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, co-founder of the annual EdTechXEurope education innovation conference, who was previously Head of Strategy, Business Development and Ventures for Time Warner, EMEA

In an interview with forbes.com he expanded on how media-entertainment industry evolution is helpful in understanding what’s coming next in the education sector, and how fast.

For example, he says, “five years ago when people were talking about MOOCs, (Massive Open Online Courses) there was a lot of criticism: ‘content is poor, student engagement is low, it’s for developing countries because they can’t access good universities…’”

“I remember at the time, coming from the media industry, that’s exactly what people had been saying when YouTube came out: ‘It’s poor content in the TV industry, it will never rate, it will never work.’”

As with YouTube so with MOOCs, the content quality may be variable, but access is ubiquitous. Therein a groundswell of adoption. And there goes the industry neighborhood.

Says Vedrenne-Cloquet: “In fact, MOOCs were a formidable marketing platform for digital education, because suddenly mass populations were accessing digital education. It was a turning point.”

Coursera and EdX are now surpassing even Oxford and Cambridge in terms of internet search, he says.

Coursera vs Oxford Cambridge

Internet searches, Coursera vs. Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Pic: EdTechXEurope

“Everything media executives didn’t see coming in terms of what was happening and how to react to it, the same is now happening in education, ” says Vedrenne-Cloquet.

“When digization starts, that creates a profusion of new forms of content, which creates confusion because the customer is a bit lost and established providers are losing market share.

“So there is suddenly a need for more curation, personalization, and customization. This is where ‘platforms’ come in, to organize and curate that content.

You suddenly have a shift of power between traditional content providers or publishers, and platforms which are aggregators and distributors.

“These aggregators use ‘programatic curation’ that is adaptive learning software that tailors content to the audiences, and ‘social curation,’ leveraging social communities and social networks, to recommend and distribute content,” he says.

This is what happened in the music industry (Spotify), in the TV industry (YouTube and Netflix), and the publishing business (Amazon). Now in education this is becoming visible with the mainstreaming of the Coursera and EdX platforms.

Overall, the education industry’s digital vortex has been relatively slow in coming compared with other tech-disrupted industries because significant positions held by large institutions, government bodies, and national budgets have protected incumbents from rapid consumer-choice adoption.

The brand protection of long-established universities has also so far been a frictional force in consumer adoption of alternatives.

But, again following the media and publishing industry precedents, Vedrenne-Cloquet suggests established university and executive education providers will likewise fall to winner-take-all platforms, and will be effectively forced to throw in their lot with them.

EdTechXEurope EdTech China

EdTech investment in China already dwarfs rest of world. Pic: EdTechXEurope

Moreover, the brand protection that Western education institutions have enjoyed in Asia and the Middle East is fast dissipating. Homegrown options are gaining legitimacy, not least on the back of massive international investment.

For example, China has 9,500 EdTech companies and is attracting 30-40% of global education investor money. Vedrenne-Cloquet is partner at Ibis Capital, which invests in the region.

Speaking to global opportunity, the annual EdTechXEurope conference and education industry event week in London has in five short years established pre-eminence in the worldwide EdTech calendar, and is itself globalizing. EdTechAsia takes place in Singapore in October, and new conferences are planned in Africa (Cape Town) and South America (Buenos Aires) in 2018.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Leadership

Discussion with Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, EdTechX

Adam Gordon talks with Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, EdTechX founder. Topics: similarity in media and education industry disruption; examples of scope and pace of education industry digitization; power in distribution platforms; branding and credentialing; investment in emerging markets and Chinese EdTech.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation

Educators Can Look Ahead To ‘Augmented’ Role

First published Forbes.com June 30. A recent consumer survey indicates that educational tutoring is the human job most expected to be wiped out by Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the next five years.

Bot.Me: A Revolutionary Partnership by PwC reveals the public’s steady acceptance of AI, particularly in customer service roles.

Among 2,500 respondents, 58% saw tutoring by AI bots displacing real people in five years,  even more likely than that of human tax preparers (54%), health coaches (46%), or doctors (22%).

Source PwC

The report’s lead author, PwC Head of AI, and Data & Analytics, Anand Rao however seeks to reassure that AI will not simply be “taking our jobs,” in the education industry or beyond.

“There is fear out there that AI is automating our jobs, taking jobs away. That ‘AI is bad. We want to remove that fear.

“People will be working with AI, man and machine together. That’s how technologies have evolved in the past, there’s no reason to think it will be any other way in the future. As AI gets better, humans will stay involved, and get better with AI.”

Rao this week presented another PwC study on the macroeconomic impact of Artificial Intelligence to 2030, at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2017, in Dalian, China—World Economic Forum Global Summit on Innovation, Science and Technology. The study was produced in partnership with the Fraunhofer Institute.

In its various AI briefings, PwC makes the distinction between autonomous intelligence where machines act on their own, and augmented intelligence where people+machines to do things they otherwise couldn’t do.

Says Rao, in augmented intelligence, “the human is still in the loop. Both humans and AI are learning, teaching each other. We will see more combination of man and machine in every sector.”

He anticipates, “AI can shift human tasks from menial to strategic, freeing up time for innovation and the broader, bigger-picture thinking that can lead to transformation.”

The PwC studies do not suggest how many or how extensively humans will be needed as partners in augmented AI systems, that is, what percentage of the disrupted workforce will make it into higher-order creative jobs vs. fall into unemployment.

In another study among the myriad emerging on AI’s business and workplace impact, McKinsey & Company last year  found that around 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations will be automated.

Following laudable industry foresight principles it however cautions on over-anticipating the pace of change, mitigating breathless tech-disruption expectations with the power of legacy systems and cost-benefit realities:

“In practice automation will depend on more than just technical feasibility. Five factors are involved. Technical feasibility; costs to automate; the relative scarcity, skills, and cost of workers who might otherwise do the activity; benefits (eg. superior performance) of automation beyond labor-cost substitution; and regulatory and social-acceptance considerations.”

With regard to education particularly, Rao says that university and professional or executive education providers will need to change the way they are educating, and what human roles and skills they are educating for, so students don’t end up qualified for jobs that are AI’d away.

His unit at PwC has recently built artificial intelligence applications for university and EdTech client companies, particularly to enhance and personalize the human learning processes.

“AI offers the ability to generate insight into how people learn, and to personalize learning to every individual for better results.

“As you study, AI will learn from you,” says Rao. “It will give each learner the learning style they need.”

This illustrates the human+machine getting better with AI prize, but it remains unclear how many tutors or ordinary classroom teachers will see a piece of this.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning


EdTechXEurope LondonEdTechXGlobal

Join me and others for EdTechXEurope, London June 21. http://edtechxeurope.com @edtecheurope #edtechx17

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation

AI and IoT: Implications For Tutoring Businesses

Video analysis of implication for education investment, particularly into tutoring businesses, coming out of PWC EdTech Study on how Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are evolving and coming together.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Learning

HBX Swaps Content For Connections In EdTech Strategy U-Turn

First published forbes.com 12/2016. Professor Bharat Anand teaches digital strategy at Harvard Business School, yet when he came to co-developing the HBS digital education business (HBX) he fell headlong into the very trap he tells leaders to avoid. That is to say, the content trap.

In The Content Trap (Random House, 2016) Anand shows how the primacy of connections in the digital era—across users, across product and services complements, and across the firm and its specific context—puts three previous holy cows of business strategy to the sword.

Professor Bharat Anand. Picture: Harvard Business School

Professor Bharat Anand. Picture: Harvard Business School

There are three seemingly rational behaviors that companies follow, that turn out to be flawed, ” he says in an interview with Forbes.com.

“First, managers see many competing products and think: ‘let’s make a better product to rise above clutter.’ This is the Quality Trap. It’s well known that the best products don’t always win.

“Second is the Focus Trap, where leaders see many things going on around them, and decide, or are advised, to simplify to win by focusing on their core competency.

“Third, decision-makers look at best in their industry, and copy them. This is the Benchmarking of Best Practices Trap. Each situation is unique, so copied decisions are unconnected to their real situation.”

In other words, these flaws are all of a kind: they miss or undervalue connections. Connecting people. Connecting products. Or connecting decisions.

But even writing and teaching this principle didn’t stop the professor and his team being lured by the siren call of better product and content when creating the HBX digital executive education CORe (Credential of Readiness) course in 2013-14.

CORe was aimed at pre-MBA under-30s, but has since seen far wider uptake.

The faculty development team included Youngme Moon, Janice Hammond, and V.G. Narayan. Says Anand, “It is so insidious! We realized we were automatically thinking about creating ‘great content, great product, great platform.’

“We were not thinking ‘community and connections.’”

Realizing what was wrong, and being more than ready to eat their own dog food in making digital strategy, in May 2013 Anand and the team pivoted 180 degrees to a user-connected, peer-learning base.

In The Content Trap, Anand says getting things right requires “seeing how what we do is increasingly linked to what others do; looking beyond where we play to bring related but invisible opportunities into focus.” [italics original]

With this somewhat in hand, the team had another business challenge to solve: how to scale.

Many executive education businesses, such as Coursera or Udacity or Udemy, or MIT and Harvard’s own edX, have scaled via the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) model. You record a lecture, you put it online, you advertise, you make it free, you have scale.

But, says Anand, “There’s a tension between reach and engagement.

“On the one hand you have MOOCs with massive participation, albeit oftentimes cursory. On the other there are highly interactive platforms, creating a rich, personalized experience for every learner.”

“The very thing that allows us to have highly engaging experiences (small group, close faculty involvement) is what prevents us from scaling.”

Resolving this apparent tradeoff was the key problem for the HBX team. “To crack it we forced ourselves to focus on one metric first: engagement. We had nothing if we didn’t crack the code of engagement.”

The rate-limiting factor in providing engagement is not technology, nor number of learners who want it. “It is number of content experts, that is, faculty,” says Anand.

Therefore the team realized, counterintuitively, the only way to have both scale and engagement was to limit faculty interaction. This reverses the prevailing wisdom that quality of student experience is achieved by providing greater interaction with faculty.

How could CORe provide engagement richness without faculty interaction? The answer came in facilitating and incentivizing peer engagement, in other words getting students to teach each other.

Peer learning has always been a big part of MBA and executive education, where the best teachers are not necessarily academic researchers but relative content experts, whose real skill is facilitating the multiple points of knowledge in the room into a cohesive learning experience.

Once again, the winning principle is who is good at making connections rather than who is good at making content.

From The Content Trap (Random House, 2016). Picture Random House

From The Content Trap (Random House, 2016). Picture Random House

Peer learning is also integral to the pedagogical “DNA” of Harvard Business School’s case method.

The three principles of the case method, according to Anand, are real-world problem solving (presenting real situations and dilemmas); active learning (hands-on student immersion and involvement); and peer learning (learning from each other.)

In the book, he observes how the case method can be frustrating for both student and teacher. “Students might yearn for ‘the answer’ but are encouraged to engage in reflection and conversation with their peers. Faculty might yearn to give the answer… but are committed to let students try to discover it on their own.”

In case method teaching, “when a student asks a question, the last thing you should do is jump in with an answer. You let students discuss, and you guide the conversation.”

Taking case method principles online means, when a student posts a question, faculty or teaching assistants must resist the urge to jump in and answer it, even if it is answered incorrectly or only partially by peers.

“You trust the students. After a day or so, the right answer converges,” says Anand.

The HBS MBA has a traditionally allocated 50 percent of a student’s grade in any course to quality of class participation. This engagement carrot-and-stick moved seamlessly online, giving students more than adequate incentive to get involved with their peers.

However, taking case-method pedagogy online also meant new and onerous pre-course design challenges for faculty.

It meant “designing a process, guiding learners through a series of mysteries and puzzles, each time unlocking a new question for them to tackle on their own,” says Anand in the book. [italics original]

“As we developed the courses, we were now not just producing the materials, but trying to think through every learning moment for students as they might proceed through them–then inserting the right teaching elements at the right moments.”

A live classroom instructor can course-correct on the fly, but this is “far harder to pull off online. Every learning moment has to be anticipated.”

Anand describes this instructional design as “creating a maze” for students to go though on their self- or peer-guided learning path.

In making the maze, faculty work extensively prior to course launch. But then their job is considerably reduced. By contrast, in MOOC “flipped-classroom,” upfront effort is relatively low: a camera records a faculty member and this is posted online, adding in some assessments.

However, enhancing the student engagement experience after the course has started requires extensive ongoing faculty or TA time, says Anand.

“By contrast, our approach demands high upfront commitment from our faculty—but virtually no ongoing effort. By hard-coding elements into the course flow we are able to make ourselves, as faculty, redundant once the learning process has begun,” he says.

“We can achieve both high student engagement and scale, because the bottleneck of faculty input is no longer a constraint.”

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Leadership, Learning

IMD Offers ‘Global Leadership In The Cloud’ As EdTech Storm Gathers

First published forbes.com 6/2016. The flood of venture capital money into digital education disruptors continues unabated with the June 2 announcement that Udemy raised $60 million from the venture capital arm of media giant Naspers.

This follows $65 million raised a year ago, and recent rounds of $105 million for Udacity and $50 million for Varsity Tutors, among a slew of online educators like Coursera, UoPeople, 2u, CorpU, Pearson CourseConnect, and Wiley Crossknowledge, all one way or another sizing up internal or external investments to create platforms to change the education industry.

As with music and travel and other industries that have been digitally reconfigured, the cresting venture capital wave suggests the point of no return is truly upon us.

While some of the VC money is going into general learning, much of it is focused where the big returns are expected, in business and leadership education,  where industry incumbents—the business schools—are now struggling to hold onto markets that are fast wriggling out of their grasp.

It has become harder for b-schools to compete in the mass markets for basic management education, such as courses in finance, or marketing, or sales. They either become the empty-handed high-cost provider, or like Wharton or Darden, drive product through external online providers at a fraction of its previous price, hoping for compensation by volume.

The other end of the executive eduction spectrum—the customized in-company side, where management advancement is tailored to specific company challenges—looks safe from broad-based digital disruption, at least for now.

The IMD campus in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The IMD campus in Lausanne, Switzerland. Picture: IMD

It is the ground between these two poles that is now looking vulnerable to online offerings. And here in this middle terrain IMD Switzerland, currently FT-ranked No. 1 in executive education for Open programs and No. 2 worldwide overall, has emerged with a fully online portfolio of personalized executive courses called “Global Leadership in the Cloud (GLC).”

The suite of eight courses (to be 15 when fully rolled out) covers topic areas such as strategy, innovation, and leadership, and aims to capture the benefits of technology while holding onto the defining executive eduction principles of personal attention and real-world application.

IMD President (Dean) Dominique Turpin sees the difference between GLC and the so-called MOOC (massive open online course) offerings particularly in the high video lecture production GLC offers. The school gets video, graphics, and animation production from experts in the film and entertainment business, currently outsourcing this to companies in Spain and Belgium.

Says Turpin, “We need to build attention among online students. Case studies were the stories that were commonly used by business schools, but now we are able to use the full power of digital technology in storytelling. This is what makes an impact. It is these stories that students remember.”

IMD’s GLC suite is particularly aimed at high potential (HiPo) junior executives, the up-and-coming tier of management typically not senior enough to command residential programs because of higher tuition, and accommodation and travel cost.

At the same time HiPo’s are often looking for more than their in-house development offerings, says GLC director, Professor James Henderson.

For about $4,000 per eight-week program, IMD is able to trump these static options, particularly in supporting student delegates with personal feedback. GLC differentiates itself in offering a personal, coached development experience that is unusual for fully online programs.

Says Henderson, “The courses are specifically designed to accommodate each student’s particular current workplace challenge or projects they are trying to work through.

“It is very practice oriented. They come with their particular challenge, we take them through steps to set about achieving their goal.”

IMD’s particular curriculum development challenge is to create a learning journey for each individual delegate, while at the same time providing the same basic course content coverage for all.

In a typical week there will be three or four lecture videos that have been carefully scripted into 10-minute segments with a fair amount of animation and professional post-production.

The full capabilities of a video production team are applied to make the content highly engaging in its own right, but the key stage, says Henderson, comes in how delegates apply the learning to their own company or own situation.

This is where they get feedback from the lecturer, and peers in their work groups, and their assigned coach.

Student numbers are capped at between 25 and 50 students per coach, depending on the course.

Weekly Flow

Each eight-week course has a specific start and end date. Students can’t go at their own pace, and finish (or not) at some future date, as common with MOOCs. Here they are obligated into a weekly flow of assignments and deliverables, which may in part explain the 90% graduation rate.

But within each week, learning is almost entirely asynchronous and self-paced—students move in their own time through the readings, video lectures, and online posting forums, and set up their own meetings with study groups or coaches.

The courses have very little plenary group time where the whole cohort meets. “Plenary is difficult. People just can’t make time at the same time!” says Henderson.

At present the GLC suite has one iteration of courses in the Spring and one in the Fall. According to Henderson, since a “soft-launch” to IMD’s company partners a year-and-a-half ago, GLC registration has doubled year-on-year. About 30% of the uptake is now private individuals.

Henderson estimates that 20% of IMD core faculty is involved in these programs, and as this adoption increases and the suite of video lectures grows, he is seeing “unintended positive consequences in being able to pick and choose parts of courses for IMD’s custom client work.

“And we can use, say, three weeks of one program and two weeks of another, and attach them like lego-bricks to IMD’s on-site programming,” he says.


Notwithstanding the early success of GLC, Henderson is also candid on its limits.

“These are deep dives into a specific issues facing a particular person in the workplace,  and are excellent in convenience, excellent in flexibility. They are great for deep capability building for high-potentials,” he says.

For more senior delegates, who are becoming ambassadors, leaders, bridge-builders in their organizations, the need for face-to-face networking is more significant, and seeing how the pieces (of organization management) fit together more important.

“To see how pieces fit together, forget it (GLC). If you want to know how finance connects to strategy connects to leadership connects to innovation—that’s why we still have on-site programs,” says Henderson.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning

Quality Of UNC Kenan-Flagler Lures MBAs From On-Site To Online

First published forbes.com 4/2016. The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says its online MBA is like its regular MBA “without cheapening quality or compromising rigor.” To test this claim and see where state-of-the-art online business education is up to, I rendezvous with 11 students logged into a Finance Statement Analysis class Saturday morning 10 a.m. EDT with professor Ashraf Jaffer.

The multi-party video-live online forum is by now almost old-hat for business education, as it is for company meetings and job interviews, but the usual webinar experience is mired in clunk—we seem to spend more time figuring out the hand-raise button or un-muting the mic or how to flip to the slide deck than doing what we’re actually there to do.

Jaffer has logged in from Tsinghau University, China, and the students are of course similarly dispersed, and the first thing I find in this class is if you have a question you don’t click the portal’s “raise-hand” icon. You just get your mit in front of your camera in such a way as Jaffer notices, and thus with a delightful minimum of ceremony we rollick into the thickets of operating cost inputs.

In class with MBA@UNC students and Professor Ashraf Jaffer, top left. Picture: the author.

In class with MBA@UNC students and Professor Ashraf Jaffer, top left. Picture: the author.

My own MBA finance is too long-ago forgotten for me to have any inkling of what’s really going down, but it does appear that the students are getting what they need.

To date, the business school and wider university industry has mostly approached online learning as a scale opportunity—a way to reach a greater audience with a limited product at a lower price. Elearning means 1000x students may be served the same product at the same time with a lower-cost, lower-service offering in what is, ironically, the ultimate industrial model.

The main debates have been about choosing which programs “work” online, where to set (global) price points, and how to capture tuition fees—whether at point of registration or point of qualification.

Significantly, the Kenan-Flagler Business School online MBA (MBA@UNC) goes in the other direction. It makes no bid for scale, setting virtual class size at 15 max, and equally makes no concession on price. At $99,500 the MBA@UNC very close to the price point of its regular MBA.

MBA@UNC Director Dan Bursch says the program is guided by a single idea: “We want to match the campus experience in virtual environment, replicating the quality and intensity of the MBA experience.”

He is also not cherry-picking for online scale. The aim is everything in the residential program is reproduced in the online offering, particularly building out the elective portfolio at the rate of four to six new courses a year so that online students are similarly served in terms of choice of concentration.

“We’re trying to build a full set of courses and electives, as a normal MBA would have,” says Bursch.

The path Kenan-Flagler took in 2010 towards achieving this was to outsource all non-academic functions to a Maryland-based Nasdaq-listed firm, 2U (TWOU).

2U built the Learning Management System–the course portal–and runs the Adobe (ADBE) Connect classroom as part of its turn-key solution that includes marketing, student placements, faculty development, and administrative services.

Describing the relationship between UNC and 2U, Bursch says, “We are the Cadillac; they are the Michelin tires we run on.”

2U CEO Chip Paucek describes his company mission as “redeeming the lack of equality to the campus” that online students have always felt, and making the online student a full member of the university community.

As the 2U site says, the prospective online student may think: “I’ll be on my own, I won’t get to know or bond with my classmates, my degree won’t be legitimate, the professors are not the core faculty, the instructors don’t care, there’s no one there to help me…”

To the success of overturning these preconceptions, at least at UNC, Paucek claims the MBA@UNC students reliably refer to themselves as “Tar Heels.”

He should know. He is himself a currently a student there. As a CEO of a listed company, Paucek had many top-tier options in the MBA admissions world—but chose his own product. “Eating your own dog food” is indeed persuasive.

Like all MBA@UNC students, the classes he takes are of two types: asynchronous pre-recorded lectures to watch in your own time, and synchronous real-time class meetings. This is the so-called “flipped classroom”—the lecture is experienced solo and in-class time with the professor is spent interactively.

UNC faculty create the content, and lectures are recorded directly for camera (not recording a live class) and edited by the 2U production team. These online lectures are much as one might experience on Coursera, or Harvard’s HBX, or similar.

The distinction comes in the interactive event, where learners in small virtual groups get the attention and input time that online options don’t usually provide.

Paucek, CEO-turned-student, is quick to point out the pain factor of small classes: “You have to come prepared! It’s plain if you’re absent, plain if you haven’t done the reading or watched the lecture, and plain if you don’t participate. There is no back seat, nowhere to hide in a class of 15,” he says.

But there is benefit accordingly. Kenan-Flagler and 2U have collated data to show student graduation rates and job-placement rates are at comparable levels to the real-world program.

The Kenan-Flagler MBA is ranked in the top-20 in the U.S. (top-40 globally). The online MBA@UNC ranks in top 3 among online competitors, and is currently 1 in the Forbes list.

The proof is in the student-subscription pudding: in 2011 MBA@UNC student enrollment stood at 19; now it is 729.

Exponential enrollment is a particular operational headache for MBA@UNC because, to hit its quality metric, it has to provide for these students via classes strictly capped at 15. In January this year 112 new students all needed to go through Analytical Tools. The 15-person cap meant setting up nine different sections (each meeting at different times so students can choose which best suits them) says Bursch.

Professor Time

This means nine times the amount of professor time. And is also creates a quality management challenge, requiring a coordinating professor to ensure consistency across delivery iterations. Kenan-Flagler has had to get good at a coordinated team-teaching model.

It is this extra cost of faculty time and coordination, across a full set of classes and growing number of electives, that pushes the MBA@UNC tuition up to a level similar to the regular MBA, says Bursch.

The other factor pushing price is of course the 2U profit factor. 2U claims a portion of tuition revenue that Paucek says “is more than 50%” but he’s quick to point out that his company provides everything in the offering other than strictly academic services.

In a typical relationship, “the university provides the academic content and handles admissions choices, we do the rest,” says Paucek.

This means, beyond the technology platform, 2U does regulatory compliance, and handles program marketing, particularly to global audience. It also provides a faculty training and engagement team that prepares its university partner faculty make the adaptations necessary to teach in the online environment.

Critically, 2U provides these services as an at-risk investment—effectively putting in the venture capital required to launch a university online, which the university may be too risk-averse or too bound by budget or bureaucracy to provide itself.

Net Negative Cash

According to Paucek, 2U spends $5-10m true net negative cash in setting up a program, which it only recoups by year-4 on average. Which is why 2U demands both a high clawback rate and long (10+ year) exclusive contracts. The contract with University of North Carolina was just recently extended to 2030.

Based in Landover, MD, the company has about 1,000 employees, and just passed $1bn revenue earned for university partners. Financial results reported on February 25, 2016 put the company’s 2015 revenue at $150.2m, up from $110.2m in 2014, a year-on-year increase of 36%.

As of year-end 2015, 2U had contracts with 14 universities including Berkeley, Georgetown, Yale, Northwestern, running a total of 29 programs for them. It recently announced a partnership with Syracuse Maxwell to create an online version of its Executive MPA. 2U also set up the MBA@Syracuse which opened January 2015.

Says Paucek: “Over time, particularly in executive education, this is going to become the model. It’s simply way too convenient, and you can have as high quality of experience as on campus. So you’re not giving up quality but radically your improving convenience factor.”

For 2U the business model relies on making graduate and executive learning of high-enough quality to lure students from on-site to online, and in the process circumnavigate issues of geography, visa status, family or workplace restrictions, all of which keep would-be students out of the pool.


Factor in that Millennials already expect to learn this way, and a vast market of national and international student reluctantly choosing lower- or non-ranked MBAs (AACSB accredits 764 institutions in 52 countries, and many more are not accredited) and the size of the opportunity comes into focus.

Perhaps this explains in part why Susan Cates, until recently Kenan-Flagler’s President of Executive Development (Director of Executive Education) and Executive Director of the MBA@UNC program in March made the move to become the COO of 2U

Meanwhile, as I sit in Jaffer’s class and ponder the experience, it’s clear to me this is not the fabled “MBA experience” in total, but it is a significant revision of the learning benefit equation nonetheless.

What I vividly recall in my own MBA experience from almost a generation ago, across both INSEAD and Wharton campuses, is the absolute intensity—the 16-hour days between classes, workgroups, the library, and, yes, parties—days bookended with too many double-espressos at one end and too much cheap bordeaux at the other.

The MBA@UNC is upending the low-cost, low service reputation that online MBAs have had, but I don’t see it fostering quite the same stories, memories, friendships, at least not yet.


That said, things move fast and the straw in the wind is the hybridization of on-site and online that Kenan-Flagler is starting to see among student choice patterns.

MBA@UNC students are currently required at a three-day real-world event twice during their degree, choosing their date and location from a schedule of quarterly gathering in the U.S. and around the world. Recent locations were San Francisco, London, Shanghai, Detroit, and Budapest.

But beyond this they can and do join residential students for part of their program, for example taking a traditional study-abroad option. And, as the online program garners quality recognition, residential students are asking to take classes on it.

Through this, what is coming into focus is a user-oriented “hybrid” education offering where students choose from a portfolio of real-world and online options, making the best tradeoffs they can according to the kind of graduate or executive education experience they seek, or that their situation will allow.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning

MIT, Tuck, Columbia Partner With Online Firm To Slash Cost Of Management Education

First published forbes.com 3/2016. The executive education sections of MIT Sloan, Tuck Dartmouth, and Columbia Business School have become “founding” academic institutions in partnership with a closely held Singapore startup company, creating a new structure to take their leadership development short-courses online.

Many business schools and universities worldwide are experimenting with models that allow them to expand market scope, and this is not the first online foray for any of the particular institutions, but there is a coordinated brand-first global intent here that suggests this initiative may change the future terrain of leadership learning, particularly for multinational corporations.

The Singapore company, Emeritus Institute of Management, was formed in 2014 by Ashwin Damera who achieved prominence building and selling Travelguru.

Over a series of interviews Damera explains his new opportunity: “A top-tier business education, whether at MBA or executive education level, requires a logistical and financial investment that narrows its reach to a very selective minority.”

“Emeritus is making quality b-school education accessible to the world.”

But of course the world doesn’t just want management education, it wants branded management education, with the right all-important door-opening masthead at the top of the diploma certificate. Providing this at an affordable price worldwide is Damera’s business.

Bob Halperin, Chairman of Academic Board at Emeritus and research affiliate at MIT, leads the EMERITUS Masterclass in Singapore

Bob Halperin, Chairman of Academic Board at Emeritus and research affiliate at MIT, leads a class in Singapore. Picture: Emeritus

Emeritus represents itself as “Global Ivy Education” from its brochures all the way down to the tablecloths in its Singapore classroom. (While most of the programming is online, the company has a classroom on-site at its head office to facilitate company face-to-face educational options.)

MIT not being part of the Ivy League appears to be a surmountable obstacle in the Emeritus brand campaign.

So far, Emeritus has nine courses in its stable, three from each of the three schools, covering such topics as leadership, negotiation, innovation, finance, and marketing. Each typically involves four hours of study a week for 6-8 weeks, and costs on average just US$750 per delegate.

Standard on-site executive education from elite providers comes in at about $2,500 per person per day.

The price point is possible because classes contain between 50 and 300 delegates, but Damera is quick to allay any notion that he is running Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) programs. No matter how large the student group is, it is broken up into course cohorts of less than 300, and much of the learning is designed to managed synchronously in teams of 5-7 people, he says.

Damera began in consumer banking at Citigroup, India, before an MBA at Harvard Business School. His HBS summer 2004 internship with JetBlue executive Dave Barger was an entrepreneurial experience that inspired him and fellow-student Ganesh Rengaswamy to write a business plan for what turned out to be Travelguru, an India tourism portal. Backed by Sequoia Capital, Damera grew the company to 350 employees by 2009, and sold it to Travelocity.

This sale has allowed him to fund Emeritus, including 25 payroll employees, out of his own pocket thus far. Damera owns almost all the equity in Emeritus.

Following Travelguru, Damera moved into management education with a venture called Eruditus, partnering with Chaitanya Kalipatnapu at INSEAD Executive Education to bring executive short courses to emerging market companies.

“But two years ago we realized, bringing these schools to global markets, demand far exceeds supply, and there are considerable price constraints.”

“I asked ‘how do we scale this?’ It was clear we needed to go online to get the necessary scale,” says Damera.

“At the same time reputable academic institutions were starting to get serious about online learning. When the EDX platform was founded by Harvard and  MIT, many in the industry really sat up and took note.”

Damera describes three broad models currently in play as business schools look to take their offerings into the digital environment: the MOOC platforms such as EDX and Coursera; the self-built, one-provider platforms such as those of HBX and INSEAD; and the partner model where schools work with a commercial provider such as CorpU, ExecOnline, or Emeritus.


Mike Malefakis, Associate Dean of Executive Education at Columbia Business School, is candid that CBS falls into the third category.

“Columbia hasn’t had the same resources as some other schools–to create its own studios or do its own production. Although it was first in its space to offer an online open enrollment program, in 2012, it has had to find partners to get online.”

So far CBS Executive Education has partnered with five different providers over the past four years, in what Malefakis describes as a “real-options approach” referencing the strategy principle that says managers facing uncertainty do best by taking various alternative stakes to maximize chances of holding potentially valuable positions while spreading risk, analogous to how investors use financial options.

“It is all about experimenting, seeing which partnerships work, continuing to further build relationships with those that work well,” says Malefakis.

Having said this, there also appears to be a genuine meeting of minds in the Emeritus partnership. “We really like their production model, what they are designing for in the online platform.”

“When dealing with world-class faculty, you need good filming and production techniques, but you also need to know how to work with faculty,” says Malefakis.


“The crew at Emeritus ‘gets’ the content, in addition to capturing the imagery and slides and lessons. Faculty have enjoyed working with them. It’s like having bright students in the room when filming, and at the same time a good director’s eye helping us make translation of our content into the digital space.”

For Damera this deeper relationship with the schools and collaboration with faculty is a pivotal differentiator of Emeritus.

“This is about deeper design. We help the faculty create content in the digital environment. Our partners are founding institutions not just content providers. We’re not just putting their stuff online.”

Emeritus is set up to foster academic collaboration between itself and the partner schools via a five-person framework it calls the “Academic Steering Committee,” made up of the Executive Education directors of each of the schools (Malefakis; Peter Hirst of MIT Sloan; and Clark Callahan of Tuck Dartmouth). Emeritus has two representatives, one being Damera himself, the other Committee Chairman Bob Halperin, management education industry veteran and ex-Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.

Partner schools don’t have any equity in Emeritus, and have no say over commercial decisions. The academic committee’s remit is limited to issues to do with faculty, academic standards, curriculum design and learning outcomes.

By agreement, all programs have have a common instructional design principle of one-third lecture (video, asynchronous) and two-thirds synchronous experiential or peer-learning, application and feedback.

This theory vs. application weighting reflects the schools own brands: MIT’s ‘Mens et Manus’ learning-by-doing, and Tuck’s peer-to-peer learning philosophy, says Damera.

Student delegates engaging with their peers circles at Emeritus classroom in Singapore

Student delegates engaging with their peer circles in Singapore. Picture: Emeritus

Baking real-time, peer-based applied learning into the online experience is no small matter, and Emeritus has developers around the world creating new virtual collaboration tools. This plays out in, for example, Professor John van Maanen’s ‘Leading Organizations and Change’ course, where the final part calls for a multi-player simulation whereby each group has to make eight sequential decisions in competition with other groups.

Although van Maanen, a living legend in field of organizational behavior, had run the simulation many times in the classroom, an online version didn’t exist until Emeritus made it happen.

The technical side of the Emeritus’ value-add includes the online learning management system (customized from Canvas, by Instructure), and a ‘Whats-app like’ mobile app that handles interactions across the broad cohort as well as inside small learning groups.

Similarly to ongoing developments at IESE, the company and MIT are creating a “big data” system called “Meeting Mediator” that monitors the entire scope of the student digital interface to build a picture of participant interactivity patterns, which can be fed back to students and instructors as part of learning and review.

Emeritus, in addition to providing all the video production and technology platform enablers, is responsible for marketing, enrollment, billing, and the student experience.


The key difference between Emeritus and other institutions offering online education partnership services is orientation to global markets. “We have feet on ground, marketing, meeting the companies in global markets,” says Damera.

Malefakis agrees that Emeritus “brings access to a market we don’t have in NYC, helping Columbia break down time and space barriers across the globe.”

Despite a meeting of minds, and common interest, negotiating the rights and responsibilities between three eminent US universities and a privately held Singapore startup company was a long and winding road. The general councils from each of the universities was involved over four months of assessing contractual arrangements, says Malefakis.

All three schools have transparent, identical agreements, and get the same revenue split (a straight percentage of gross sales.) Each splits its own course sales with Emeritus–there is no pooled revenue.

Acknowledging the background brand risk in harnessing the Columbia name to a startup commercial entity on the far side of the world, Malefakis observes that there is an even greater strategic risk in not being at the global table for executive education  when the cards are being dealt.

Intellectual capital comes completely from the schools, and Makefakis observes that the academic partners are, in terms of the agreement, entitled to reuse and repurpose what they created for Emeritus in their own other on-campus or blended-learning programs. They can use the material for their client independently, on or off the Emeritus platform.


Might there be some trickiness in in-house competition between the schools? Says Damera: “The consortium leverages the strengths of each. MIT is strong in digital business, technology and entrepreneurship; Columbia in finance, global markets, digital, banking; Tuck in health care and innovation. They all add something without stepping on each others toes.”

Emeritus the company is hoping to have 20 short-courses from its three partners by the end of 2016, and also launch a one-year Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration certificate–awarded in the name of all three schools.

Damera has his eye on open enrollment options, but for now the company is focused on the in-company market. He’s targeting to have 20-30 global company accounts, each putting 3,000-5,000 employees on his high-brand, low-cost management development courses every year.

In business education worldwide there are a few thousand people lucky or rich enough to get quality management or business education in any year. “This is not going to move the needle on social and business impact worldwide. But the Emeritus Institute of Management can do that,” says Damera.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning

The Future Of Leadership Development With IESE’s Learning Innovation Unit

First published forbes.com 1/2016. For most business school educators and their corporate clients, the moving frontier of executive education is the online classroom or perhaps MOOCs (massively open online courses). But educators at IESE Business School, overlooking and perhaps taking courage from Barcelona F.C.’s Camp Nou, are racing past this toward what they call “omni-learning.”

Omni-learning continuously and digitally integrates all real and virtual learning sites –classroom, workplace, customers’ premises and beyond.

The concept owes much to data-tracking adaptive feedback systems that have emerged in other industries, for example Fitbit wearables that track health and fitness activity and provide ongoing interaction with peers and feedback to doctors. Or, similarly, Waze (a Google company) which aggregates continuous distributed peer imputs about the state of traffic into knowledge that guides driver choices.

IESE Business School, Barcelona. Picture: the author

IESE Business School, Barcelona

In an IESE Insight position paper “The Road to Omni-Learning: How Digitalization is Changing the Way Executives Learn,” the directors of IESE’s Learning Innovation Unit, Drs Guiseppe Auricchio and Evgeny Kaganer, argue that eLearning is already “a relic” in merely adding an online component to traditional education.

So far use of digital technologies has been merely as instruments that tinker with an educational model that remains bound by the idea of instructor-led classroom-based learning.

But Auricchio and Kaganer anticipate that digital technologies will break the classroom paradigm entirely, allowing something altogether new in executive education: learner-led, peer-oriented, real-time adaptive knowledge acquisition that works seamlessly across all relevant sites and contexts.

I tracked down Giuseppe Auricchio for a one-one interview, here are the highlights:

Auricchio: “When I think executive education program, I don’t think Monday morning. I think ‘the learning experience’ , what is best possible way to achieve the learning outcome — accessing the most appropriate tool at each step?”

“We know a learner has to be motivated in order to learn. Yet we have passive, one-way, top-down delivery. We know a learner needs constant feedback, yet we currently have no way to do this other than an exam.

“Lectures are the worst way to learn. But in an analog world they are the only way to scale. Now digital technology is lifting these constraints, so we can start to do the things we know are right, but which practically and economically have not been feasible.


“Digital technologies will finally allow us to create learning that is much more aligned with the way we know real learning occurs—in situations that are social, collaborative, ongoing, and which personalize learning and assessment and giving the learner some control.”

In the IESE paper the authors explain further: “The number of organizations investing time and resources in alternative learning processes is growing fast. But they treat online learning as an optional extra to gain efficiencies–saving the time that executives spend away from work, and reducing travel costs, so the organization saves money. Meanwhile, the true intention–to improve learning effectiveness–gets lost.

“In your organization, don’t start by asking, “How can we do what we currently do better?” Instead ask, “What could be done at each key stage of the learning process to enhance or optimize the experience for learners, which integrates the respective strengths of online and in-person learning?”

Kaganer and Aurrichio isolate three key features of omni-learning:

  • Continuous and Cross-Context. These overlap, and are rooted in the idea that learning must be knitted into an executive’s everyday activities rather than be a standalone event. The range of an executive’s activities and, therefore, physical and virtual learning contexts necessarily spans all the places and situations the executive finds herself in, which all need to be captured and integrated.
  • Learner-Led. In formal learning, pathways and learning experiences are preselected by the lecturer or learning designer. In omni-learning, it is anticipated that participants identify and integrate learning moments themselves, including making the choices that personalize each learner’s journey to his own needs.
  • Data-driven. The learner-led moments embedded in everyday situations generate a rich data footprint, to be captured, stored and analysed to monitor each learner’s performance and personalize tasks. Crucially, data is not just a record of past activity — the learner’s path data is available to guide future choices. As with Waze, collaborative data feedback will guide best choices each learner can and should make next.

Collaborative data also plays a role in learners’ engagement and motivation. Again drawing on the analogy with Fitbit, the authors say there is a “motivational boost stemming from the ability to visualize one’s progress and to compete with others. Ultimately, this transforms the experience of (staying fit) from a fragmented set of difficult-to-sustain personal commitments to a holistic, social journey integrated into one’s everyday life.”


At present, omni-learning is an aspirational idea not an established practice, with the technology still clunky and buried in stand-alone apps. However IESE Executive Education is currently bootstrapping an engagement with one corporate client that embraces aspects of omni-learning logic, connecting in-class learning with external learning moments, including social and workplace platforms chosen by the learning cohort.

It allows executives to integrate what they are reading, talking about, or observing back into the education program, and make their information and usage data more readily available to all. The totality of activities, both physical and online, of all learners in the group is aggregated for general insight and benefit.

At the same time IESE is updating case studies with multimedia, providing links to relevant news and analysis, embedding Q&A to improve retention, and creating adaptive storylines to stimulate engagement.

When the full-blown vision arrives, omni-learning will go beyond the business school and the beyond any one specific executive program, allowing each executive learner to connect with other and even competing contexts, people, places and practices in an expert-guided but learner-led system.


Success depends on technology progress quickly allowing ease of use and quality of user experience, and according to Auricchio the technology is not too far off at this stage: “Google could pull it all together in six months.”

But progress in this direction involves more than just better technology. It involves a fundamental shift in the way learning is perceived, designed, and used.

Says Aurrichio: “What is harder is changing organizational culture and managerial mindsets inside organizations. The guru-led classroom has been the educational frame for at least 100 years. Omni-learning displaces the classroom and centers learning on the individual learner.

“Consider how most executive development is assembled. The starting point is usually a classroom-based core, augmented by some online component. Contrast that with how other digital products and service are offered today, where user-led experiences span channels and contexts, and which are characterized by user empowerment.”

Employees are being exposed to data-driven adaptive learning in their private lives. With this exposure comes new expectations that will drive what learning should look like at work.


Individuals will take control of their personal learning as an everyday activity integrated into other daily workplace activities, and be ready for options that go beyond simple blended online-offline modes into a set of continuous activities.

Client company or learner perceptions aside, the displaced classroom also implies deep challenges for business schools and other providers of executive development. Not least, the entire foundation of the current business model—billing per contact teaching day—will crumble and have to be rethought.

There will also be challenges to current executive education department programme design processes. Auricchio foresees a far less faculty-led model as learning design shifts from predictive-path “instructional design” to adaptive-path “learning experience design.”

Learning experience design will require a broader spectrum of actors, including a learning community experience manager and possibly data specialists.

At the same time, he remains savvy about the pace and extent of digital disruption in the executive education industry. “’Either-or’ framing is incorrect. It won’t be either online or face-to-face. Either omni-learning or a traditional program. Even with Fitbit we still go the gym!”


“Shopping is still shopping, but not what it was five years ago. It is still about buying a dress, but not as was. It is not just going down the high street. Nor is it just going online. It is about seeing the item, tweeting it to your friends, price comparing it, and getting it delivered. It is a continuous, seamless, online-offline digital experience.”

In the same way, in the next era of executive education the basic functions of teaching, coaching, mentoring, reading etc. will be recognizably fulfilled, both online and off-line. But these will be integrated into a continuous data matrix that will greatly expand options and benefits for learners and corporate purchasers of executive education.

Posted by admin in EdTech, Innovation, Learning