Ulrich Hommel and Christophe Lejeune discuss how technology could change the business model of business schools.
Technology-enhanced learning (either in a blended or distance format) is making marked inroads in management education. Leading business schools have added online streams to their flagship programmes and the entire sector is rapidly expanding the use of e-learning tools to structure student learning. Web users can nowadays register for business courses on open source platforms such as Coursera and receive a certificate for successful completion at zero cost.
It is time to ask what impact this development will have on the future shape of the business school sector. Admittedly, we can at this point only offer speculative answers. But the writing is on the wall that technology-enhanced learning will exert a disruptive influence.
Technological change promises to affect all facets of business school operations – how teaching is designed and delivered, how research is conducted and disseminated, and how interactions with stakeholders create value.
Opportunities probably outweigh threats but business schools are likely to be forced down a path that will lead to an industry shakeout and a redefinition of competitive advantage for many institutions. In this article, we highlight the implications of technological-accelerated change on teaching and research.
Teaching: from standardised provision to customised learning?
Business schools are noticeably leaving their traditional teaching space, which was defined by geographical space and time. Traditional pedagogy is being amended with blended learning elements or is drifting off into the cloud altogether. Technology-accelerated knowledge diffusion allows students to learn from the best what the world of management education has to offer. Renowned scholars and admired management gurus can feed directly into the students’ learning space and enrich intellectual progression.
In the process the marginal cost of provision will drop, which translates into a low-cost scalability of educational services. Technology can also help to address the “fairness of access” issue, which is currently hotly debated in the light of accelerating tuition fees.
In order fully to utilise these growth opportunities, business schools must begin to define themselves as managers of educational technology platforms, contracting in complementary resources for the delivery of services to stakeholders.
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