Shaping the future of digital learningBy Tony Sheehan, Associate Dean, Digital Learning
I confess to some bias, but 2016 is proving to be a fascinating year for digital learning at LBS. Today’s learning technology industry is awash with immense potential, frequently fuelled by the optimistic (and occasionally honest!) promises of start-ups and technology vendors. If these are to be believed, our sector will be significantly disrupted by digital and we can look forward to a future where learners are surrounded by adaptive, personalised online learning experiences. In reality, there is still a lot of work to be done to address many significant digital challenges; digital learners remain overloaded with content, MOOC completion rates and impacts remain low, many different preferred learning styles exist.
To address digital learning at LBS in such interesting times, we need to continuously keep our technologies up to date, and so have started to address weaknesses in our existing learning technology infrastructure (in particular through the implementation of Canvas, our new Learning Management System).
We also need to be curious, creative and selectively brave with the digital components of our programme designs. Technology alone does not lead to better pedagogy, but by creating interventions that blend learner need with faculty content, relevant contexts and engaging community discussion, it is possible to develop new and highly engaging learning opportunities moving forward. With this in mind, we have initiated a series of digital learning faculty experiments, have responded to market challenges within DPO and Executive Education and have engaged with increasing numbers of potential clients who have sought out LBS guidance on new forms of programme design and delivery. These opportunities have already led to new digital programme components in Custom, in DPO and in the fully online course spaces through our initial three MOOCs and Executive Education clients.
We have not been the first business school to market in digital learning but looking to the future, extending our approach to date of experimentation, evolution and then innovation will be essential in helping us to define the ‘distinctively LBS’ way of blending digital into our mix. Activities to date have already shown that we have the faculty, staff and ability to do something very special in this space as we build on our early momentum, and the next few years will be an exciting journey. Your support, suggestions and ongoing partnership are both very welcome and essential to shaping our digital learning future.