Advances in technology lead to innovations that have a huge impact on society. Companies are leveraging these advancements to grow profitably by delivering increased value to their stakeholders. The education sector is one of those that have embraced new technologies in various ways. This has accelerated over the past two years with the pandemic testing every industry on its ability to cope with the changes it has brought about through lockdowns and social distancing norms. Although the pandemic may have been brought under control, leading educational institutions to resume normal operations, some changes and associated technologies are here to stay.
Management training has unique requirements. This implies greater interactivity between participants and teachers. Assessments are labor intensive as they typically involve the assessment of descriptive analysis reports, discussions, role plays, and presentations. Another challenge is meeting the dual goals of ensuring courses are industry-focused and customized to meet the diverse career paths of participants.
In this context, it is interesting to try to understand the technological trends that we are likely to witness in management education in the immediate future.
E-learning platforms, including specific devices such as interactive whiteboards, have been used for management education to share content, enable homework submission, conduct assessments objectives and deliver lessons. This trend is expected to continue for regular university programs and executive education programs despite the opening of campuses due to flexibility and improved scope. Innovations are likely to continue in this area to allow more and more executive education programs to be delivered online or at least in hybrid mode.
On the infrastructure front, interactive systems in classrooms enable blended learning that meets the unique demands of management education. Collaboration between students for the course and extracurricular activities is essential. Secure and user-friendly collaboration platforms should be identified and enabled. In addition to this, custom applications based on low-code/no-code technology are likely to be developed by students to meet context-specific requirements. It can give management students the much-needed consulting mindset to understand existing business processes and transform them to meet challenges or exploit opportunities for improvement. IoT is increasingly being used in a variety of usage scenarios to provide good campus infrastructure. To name a few use cases: lighting, climate control, security cameras, audiovisual systems, access control and attendance automation. Although these are common to any educational setting, they are of particular interest in the context of management education as they emphasize the solution approach to effective, efficient and sustainable systems.
Augmented reality (AR) applications are found in course projects and presentations to demonstrate how product ideas are used for marketing purposes to provide customers with an immersive simulation experience. Virtual reality (VR) apps and devices have been used to develop leadership and soft skills, and this should be used more commonly in the immediate future.
Assessments are increasingly being conducted online so participants can take them at their convenience and reduce costs by optimizing space and manual assessment efforts. These tools can identify events that require manual review by the assessor to identify poor practices. While plagiarism checks are performed with existing tools, new artificial intelligence (AI) tools are likely to be more widely and easily adopted across all entrant submissions.
There are a variety of career paths for a management professional today. Management education, particularly in the second year, should allow students to customize the course/content to suit their individual career path preferences while maintaining the required standardization across the curriculum. The traditional approach of major/minor specialization through options is not optimal from the point of view of flexibility and cost. In this sense, interconnections between the concepts and their applications can be defined for the different management courses leading to these different career paths. Machine Learning (ML) techniques can then be used to build systems to provide module-level recommendations to students to meet program requirements as well as their career aspirations.
Blockchain-based management systems for student records, certificates, and degrees will likely be used. Blockchain-based smart contracts will soon be used to define course requirements and automatically award credits once students complete the requirements.
As in any organization, management institutions need business process management software, dashboards with rich visualizations, actionable insights, forecasts and prescriptions. In this regard, the choices made in terms of buy vs customize vs build, which to buy or how to build are good learning opportunities for management students. Solutions can range from standard enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to student lifecycle management systems. Low-code/no-code applications customized for specific needs are likely to be increasingly used.
In summary, over the next couple of years management education is likely to experience a trend of increased adoption and effective use of existing technologies with some solutions using new technologies.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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