Jen Mack knows better than most that cyber threats are constantly changing and multiplying. As head of the global go-to-market program for IBM Security Services in New York, she wanted a leadership development course to keep them up-to-date with the latest developments. But she needed a program that would last weeks instead of years.
“Cybersecurity technology is evolving fast, and a lot can happen in a short amount of time,” says Mack. “If you don’t keep up, your knowledge can quickly wither away.” So in June 2020, she enrolled in the Oxford Cyber Futures program, a three-month online collaborative learning course run by the Oxford University Saïd Business School in partnership with Esme Learning Solutions, a provider of artificial intelligence educational platforms.
Mack says she achieved her goals in “a few short but intense months” on the course. She particularly appreciated the learning methodology of simulated business meetings with other course participants. “Of course there were some amazing academics from the University of Oxford, but Esme brought them together with top industry leaders who shared their real-world knowledge and helped me put the information into an even larger context,” she says.
According to Andrew Crisp, head of education consultancy CarringtonCrisp, business schools provide about a third of executive development programs, with so-called alternative providers taking the lion’s share of the market. While consulting firms have a firm grip on tailored training for their clients, according to Crisp, the pandemic has slowed the growth of online providers such as CourseraUdemy, Emeritus and LinkedIn Learning to offer leaders a wide variety of short, focused programs and open enrollment courses.
Financial Times Executive Education Rankings 2022
“Alternative providers are meeting the needs of executives who come home from work on a Monday night, are looking online for a course that provides the knowledge and skills they need, and [are] Applying that knowledge and skills the next morning,” says Crisp. “Leaders want immediate impact – they want to know that what they learn will immediately help them in their day-to-day work.”
For their part, business schools strengthen executive education through their brands and reputations, through their teaching methods and by bringing their research and expertise to the learning.
“Anyone who wants a skill for tomorrow is in good hands with alternative providers,” says Crisp. “If you want something that will advance your career in the medium to long term, maybe a business school will give you the breadth that you can’t get from a short online course.”
Where business schools struggle, says Crisp, is the speed of action — the time it takes schools and host universities to bring new courses to market. “Alternative providers can set up courses much faster to respond to changes in the business environment.”
According to Crisp, if business schools want to secure or grow their share of the executive education market, they need to remove the barriers to course adoption faster and better engage with their alumni as customers.
Another option for schools is to work with an alternative provider, as UK business schools Oxford Saïd, Cambridge Judge and Imperial College, and US Massachusetts Institute of Technology have done with Esme. Short courses within these connections range from climate innovation and start-up finance to digital finance and blockchain strategy.
Learners spend 45-60 minutes per week in an AI-coached online group chat environment. Esme uses its technology to analyze conversation dynamics and provide real-time, personalized feedback, gently encouraging participants to behave more collaboratively as they work through the course materials.
Esme co-founder Beth Porter says research shows we learn best when we interact with others in small groups and leverage structured and ad hoc community learning. But executive education tends to continue traditional methods in which experts disseminate information and students passively absorb it, she says.
“That’s exactly what online learning has been terrible for in the past, and leadership development under Covid has been heavily internet-focused,” she says. “However, partnering with universities and business schools is the best way to deliver an immersive, human-centric learning experience grounded in solid knowledge.” A combination of AI tools and expert tutors guiding discussions and providing feedback helps participants to feel “connected and engaged,” says Porter, who also predicts greater use of game-based learning and virtual reality tools in higher education.
According to LinkedIn Learning, 200 courses are created each month, building on a catalog of more than 17,000. “We enable people to build skills in real-time when it may not be realistic to pursue specialized degrees,” said Hari Srinivasan, vice president of product management at LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
“We’re constantly monitoring what skills are trending to make sure we’re up to date with the learning content. There are a lot of ways to use online learning to fill smaller skill gaps. These insights can take you to the next level in your career, but we talk about them a lot less often.”
LinkedIn Learning also has more than 200 licensed partners, and Srinivasan says it is partnering with several universities to provide students with official credit to prepare for course admissions.
Business schools need not fear these alternative providers, says Anne-Valérie Corboz, associate dean for executive education HEC Paris. “For these actors, we provide the intellectual capital, and they support a broader presence and achieve insights that we might otherwise not achieve. It is a strong partnership based on supporting the dissemination of learning.”
Business schools’ rivals — and partners Source link Business schools’ rivals — and partners