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The Future of Executive Education

Much of the last year was overhauled by COVID-19 and the multiple restrictions that accompany a pandemic. And rightly so. But those implications have had an enormous effect on executive education as well. Modules and courses were adjusted every few months due to new lockdown stages, travel restrictions, and the need for social distancing. This also led to many in-class sessions being carried out through online or live-online sessions.

Read: Executive Education Trends 2023

Future of Executive Education

Considering this, along with the increasing awareness of the need to continuously learn in order to keep growing, the future of executive education has evolved. While much of it is a direct effect of the pandemic, a lot of it is also because of changing mindsets about personal and professional development that might just have been hastened due to the pandemic.

2021 onwards, we might see a lot more of the following becoming commonplace in the world of executive education.

Increased demand for programs focused on exponential technologies

With every industry imbibing technologies and digitization, companies and organizations will be looking for managers and leaders with knowledge of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, etc. Across industries, these technologies are slowly but surely becoming indispensable and further advances in these technologies will only speed up that process. This digitization and employing of technologies is not limited to processes, products, and services but also for employee training and a new style of work culture. So executive education programs with a focus on the application of exponential technologies as well as sensor networks will be sought after.

More multicultural and diverse classrooms

With industries and markets becoming more and more global, the knowledge and know-how to excel in these areas is also oriented towards being global. The classrooms of executive education programs are becoming increasingly multicultural as participants come for programs from all across the world. This will in turn inspire more business schools to reach global students geographically or online, making more programs diverse, inclusive, and global. The meaning of ‘physical classrooms’ will change as programs could have small clusters of participants in different countries around the world, all learning from the same faculty at the same time.

Increased focus on soft-skill training

While soft skills are already demanded from managers and leaders, it will become mandatory across the board. Keen leadership skills and communication skills will become a prerequisite to executive and senior executive roles. A focus on innovation and culture has also become more popular and later, expected, as teams and companies learn to be part of a team while working remotely. Gaps in soft-skill development is becoming unacceptable as has been highlighted during the sweeping order for employees to work remotely during the pandemic. This will increase the focus on these aspects in executive education programs regardless of the topic of the program because remote work will continue in a post-pandemic world as well.

An increase in flexible and online programs

While there are many such programs available today, the number will sharply rise along with the demand for these flexible programs. More programs will become blended with the perspectives that technology brings, allowing for participants from around the world to be peers. This will lead to an increase in the number of participants who want to enroll in these programs. Online programs will also see a spike as is already been the case throughout 2020. The future will see business schools offering more online programs along with blended programs. Soon this will become the norm for even traditionally in-class programs.

The learning experience will change

With an increase in flexible and customizable programs, the dissemination of content will also change. In order to make the delivery of the program more effective, the method of teaching is set to change. Microlearning, while already in use in certain areas, will become more prominent in the executive education space. This is because classrooms are slowly changing and this kind of learning can be accessed comfortably and conveniently through multiple sources such as mobiles. Smaller, more targeted bits of information will prove more effective and more efficient for the participants of executive programs and employee training. This will change the way faculty designs their programs as well.

Executive education will expand

With a growing understanding of continuous learning and the need for it in every industry, institutions will offer a wider range of programs addressing various fields and focuses. More executive education institutions will also be launched as the demand for executive programs rises. Essentially, the demand for executive education will increase and so will the supply. The industry of executive education will expand in the coming years and so will the opportunities that come with it.

Summary

It is true that the future of executive education has been greatly affected by the pandemic but it is also true that much of the changes are here to stay ever in a post-pandemic world. Like many other industries, executive education is extracting the true potential of technology and exploring traditional aspects to create a more dynamic and future-focused platform for those who want to keep learning. The different elements of evolution of executive education that were discussed and debated until 2019 have all been put to the test during the pandemic. The changes that were expected to take place 5 years from now have already been tested out and fine-tuned in the past year. More changes such as these will take place as the executive education world further evolves.

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