Approaches to online learning run the gamut from PowerPoints that have a recorded script to fully interactive computer simulations that approach the sophistication of video games.
For the last several years, Wronski Associates has been working with a new design for instructor led online courses. We combine a mixture of short lectures, with case studies that mirror problems at major corporations, and a library of online resources to deliver the content to the students. Students come together in a virtual call to discuss the case and are graded for class participation. They are expected to bring their own knowledge and experience to the course. Guest speakers are invited to bring subject matter expertise as well.
With this approach, we have been able to tackle complex subject matter in a virtual course – something that is often a challenge to do. Our Successful System Implementation Series is an example of one of the courses we have designed using this approach. Designed around a series of Harvard Business School Case Studies, the course is broken into six modules that address key factors in the implementation of a new IT system.
For each module, students are given a case to review prior to the session. Each assigned Case is a real world problem that is messy and often the result of a combination of circumstances and events. Students need to evaluate the Case information, connect the dots and ask the “right” questions to build a picture of the situation to then come to an actionable conclusion.
After preparing on their own, they participate on a conference call where they discuss the case with other classmates who are often distributed throughout the business and around the globe. The instructor acts as a facilitator or learning guide for these discussions and integrates lecture where appropriate to supplement the learning. Research projects or other deliverables can be added to the course to supplement the experience.
The beauty of this design is that the students stay connected to the material by having to prepare for a live session where they are expected to participate and contribute. Our clients have found that this approach brings greater value than if the content was delivered through self-paced modules that students completed individually. In many ways, the course evolves into a community of practice where the discussion fosters sharing of lessons learned across the organization both amongst the students as well as from leaders that may be invited as guest speakers.
For more information on our approach to virtual courses or the Successful System Implementation Series, please contact us.