How Business Schools Can Evolve With Online Learning

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Wednesday, May 15, 2024
As more and more technology tools are developed to support student learning, how can business schools position themselves to succeed in online spaces?
Featuring Francisco Veloso, INSEAD
  • The lines between online and offline learning will continue to blur, leading to a more integrated and continuous learning experience.
  • By collaborating with technology firms, business schools can enhance their educational tools and adapt to new and changing technologies.
  • Schools will need to prepare faculty to use and champion new technologies to improve learning outcomes and engage students more effectively.


Francisco Veloso: [0:15] I think online learning will continue to evolve, but in different dimensions. Generally, we'll continue to grow. There's a lot of demand, we can see that. Any statistics you look at, you will see that. That's just people looking for learning and online being a natural way to absorb knowledge of all sorts, the way we consume news, from the way that we acquire knowledge.

[0:37] I also think that it will change. Now we have a more dichotomous view of online versus offline, meaning in-person. I think that, more and more, it's going to be continuous. We're going to distinguish less the online from the physical because many things online may have some physical elements, and most of the things that we do physically will still have online components to it.

[1:01] That is another important evolution is this mixed view of what that means and that continuous outlook of the way that we learn.

[1:15] Business schools can and should work with technology organizations, firms, to develop the tools that they need to deliver education. Most business schools are not in the business of technology, they're technology users.

[1:29] If you think today about learning management systems or if you think today about the role of the OPMs, these are companies, are solutions that are out there supporting what we do with our students.

[1:41] What's going to happen more and more is that we'll have more of these technologies available for us to support the learning journey. Certainly, we're going to see that happening, it's already happening, but it will accelerate a lot in terms of the use of AI, but it will have lots of other dimensions that are going to be present through tech.

Business schools can and should work with technology organizations, firms, to develop the tools that they need to deliver education.

[2:02] It is the perspective of just looking at what's out there, partnering, or just taking it, and incorporating on the way that we want to touch the lives of learners, wants to touch the lives of students.

[2:18] It will still allow for differentiation on the way that we engage the students on the material, the content that we want to deliver, and the technologies, the support function for us to do that.

[2:29] Business schools have an important responsibility to prepare their faculty to be ready and to be empowered to work with these technologies, because they are changing very quickly. Therefore, there are different parts that we have to take in consideration.

[2:45] It starts with educating, just making them aware, making them comfortable, making them understand, and make sure that they feel supported. Perhaps it's through a lab, a learning lab, that they can experiment with those various elements that are making available.

[3:03] That's one very important part of what we need to do, is make them aware, and supported, and engaged with that.

The other aspect that's quite important, is to make [faculty] appreciate the impact that it can have on the trajectory of the learners.

[3:10] The second aspect is to make sure that you have champions. People that are, because of their own characteristics or their trajectory, perhaps more at the forefront of leveraging some of these technologies and solutions, and make sure that they are agents of change inside the school and that they can help other faculties develop the capabilities in important ways.

[3:33] The other aspect that's quite important, is to make them appreciate the impact that it can have on the trajectory of the learners, because ultimately, we do this because learning is more effective, learning is more impactful.

[3:46] If we find a way to demonstrate that, by showing how it's making a difference in the life of a student, in the life of a learner, or a participant in an executive education program, people that are faculty members, they are in this profession because they care about learning. When they see the impact, that works as a motivation for them to do more.

[4:07] The other part, which of course we have to also think about is, incentives and methods of cajoling a little bit, because change is different. Change is hard. Therefore, we know that there has to be a little bit of an impetus for change, which is through a combination also of incentives, a little bit of pressure, and other mechanisms that we can use to move things forward.

[4:30] I believe that all of these elements are important to make sure that faculty are at the forefront of leveraging these amazing technologies and solutions that are appearing for more impactful learning, for more effective learning, and for better leaders and professionals out there.

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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