Innovative learning in business schools during the pandemic

Harvard Business School Baker Library

Quite a few business schools are prepared for the uncertainty that is likely to characterize the coming months due to the pandemic. Some schools have adapted well to the new demands and requirements, and some have managed to use the pandemic as a springboard to think of innovations about the future of education. New trends in learning and teaching are becoming popular, driven in part by the pandemic as well as technological innovation. Given below are some current trends that will make the process of learning at a business school more seamless than before.

New teaching model

The new teaching model across business schools blends together physical and digital learning in innovative ways so that students obtain the highest quality education no matter where they are. Learners can now blend synchronous with asynchronous content to get the best of in-person and online delivery modes. The IE Business School in Spain has developed a ‘Liquid learning model’, which allows classes to be delivered both asynchronously and synchronously. Students can move fluidly from one learning method to the other.

Using smart technology

Some business school classrooms have recently been permanently equipped with upgraded smart technology and tools. Ipads can be used as digital whiteboards. The faculty in most schools are live streaming guest speakers into classrooms from all over the world. Quite a few schools have made additional investments in their digital infrastructure, including software and hardware.

Faculty training

Faculty training does not just include enhancing technological competencies and making educators familiar with software packages. It focuses on improving pedagogical capabilities consistent with different teaching needs. Some schools organized internal peer-learning activities where faculty with more blended learning expertise shared their knowledge with peers.

Online executive education partnerships

With learners getting more used to online education, there has been growth in the new model of education. There are a number of online platforms that host pre-recorded courses by reputable business schools. Students can select individual courses off a digital shelf. For instance, the educational host platform Emeritus already has a valuation of $1 billion. This also shows the necessity of building a consortium of business schools with their own online learning platforms. If this does not happen, these open online platforms could draw students away with their flexibility and lower costs.

Redesigned curriculum

According to a survey, around 70% of business schools have modified their curricula to reflect changes caused by COVID-19. Some changes involved redesigning specific pedagogical elements, and some schools recognized the need for course content and course delivery to align with each other. Some business schools have also mentioned the need to include a discussion of the impact of the pandemic in relevant courses.

Smaller classes

Some programs have cut their class sizes in half. This was initially a response to the need for social distancing in physical spaces. But the schools then realized that smaller class sizes also encouraged more interactive discussions. In some schools, cohorts will be redrawn throughout the year so that students can meet everyone in their program.

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