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Beth Porter, CEO of Riff Analytics, writes about education for executives in Forbes

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There’s more to a successful online course than talking head videos delivered by experts. Higher education institutions and their students learned this the hard way after hastily rushing into virtual classrooms as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. In most cases, the experience, often dubbed “Zoom university,” hasn’t met students’ or instructors’ needs.

The problem can be even worse for time-strapped professionals taking executive education courses. These learners often seek out in-person programs in order to network with other professionals and look for those transformative moments of serendipity — an ambitious few may even be looking for future co-founders to launch a new venture. The same environmental conditions are difficult to replicate online.

Despite delivering initially poor first efforts at online learning, I’ve found that universities are quickly realizing what steps are needed to ensure a successful online program strategy, especially with executive education programs.

According to the World Economic Forum’s January 2021 “Upskilling for Shared Prosperity” report, half of all employees around the world need to upskill or reskill by 2025 to embrace new and emerging responsibilities that are being driven by automation and new technologies. Higher education leaders must take action to keep pace with learners’ expectations and be part of the learning revolution happening around the globe.


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