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Why Executive Education Fails and What Tech Can Do to Help  October 28, 2017 – 01:28 pm
How to Prepare for Your First

It’s time to rethink how we approach executive education.

For the past five decades, companies continue to embrace the same antiquated and costly practices when it comes to developing corporate leaders. Last year, U.S. companies spent $70 billion in corporate training—a 15% increase from the previous year. Yet, executives consistently bemoan that they do not have the talent they need at the top levels. So where’s the disconnect?

In this two-part series, I’ll explain why executive education is failing executives and what role technology can play.

1. Executive education is disconnected from work. Many programs incorporate problem-based scenarios or case studies in their teaching. However, often these problems are generic and not connected to the learner’s company or industry. So while the learning may be based in examples, those case studies are often irrelevant to the particular business needs an executive is expected to deliver on. In order to be effective, programs must be relevant to the executive’s industry, his or her role, and the problems he or she is tasked with solving.

2. Executive education doesn’t create shared learning experiences. When executives attend residential seminars and programs, they often do so without any of their colleagues. As I previously wrote with MOOC godfather George Siemens, good learning is structured in a way that facilitates collaboration and discussion—activities that are critical to helping people take in new knowledge and learn how to solve problems. According to CEB, which has been studying how companies succeed and grow for over 30 years, more than half of all knowledge workers must attempt to influence at least 10 people every day in order to accomplish their daily goals. In order for companies to see real impact, executive learners should have the opportunity to learn alongside peers so they can grow together and learn how to work as a team.


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