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EDTECH: Here's How Online Learning Will Shape Business Education In 2017

Top business school Deans say digital disruption is a both threat and an opportunity

The online learning revolution will shape business education in 2017.

That’s according to several of the world’s top business school Deans contacted by BusinessBecause. 

“It’s time we stop asking if online education will happen; it has happened,” said Scott DeRue, Dean, University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. 

Online learning has exploded in recent years, spurred by the advent of massive, open online courses in 2012. And as more managers question the value and cost of a traditional campus MBA, business schools are investing in online learning environments and digital-only degrees. 

“Programs will need to be better tailored to individual needs,” said Andrew Likierman, Dean of London Business School.

Online learning is also enhancing the in-person, residential experience for students on-campus.

“Technology is going to become more integrated in the classroom and the overall learning experience in the next couple of years,” said Idalene Kesner, Dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Business schools are already using it for “flipped-classroom” teaching, role-play exercises and global projects. 

Yet universities have been critiqued for not innovating their teaching methods and models quickly enough. 

Schools face a common threat in new digital-first education providers such as Coursera, edX and Udacity. 

“We must innovate or die,” said Eugenia Bieto, Director-General, ESADE Business School.

Judy Olian, Dean, UCLA Anderson School of Management, said: “Some schools won’t or can’t change, and we’ll see more business schools shrink or shutter their full-time MBA programs.”

Meanwhile, the insecurity caused by the immigration rhetoric of US president Donald Trump, is expected to accelerate the use of online learning for global projects. 

“With the uncertainty surrounding US-global relations…We’ll see an increased use of technology to connect with international businesses and academic partners to work on global projects,” said Kelley School’s Idalene.

Bill Boulding, Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, highlighted the need for global cohesion as globalisation comes under attack in the aftermath of Trump’s election. 

The upheaval in international affairs caused by Trump and Brexit represents a threat to the foundation of global business education. 

He said: “More than ever business schools need to produce leaders who have the ability to bring people who are very different together to work toward a common goal.”

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