COVID-19 – a shot in the arm for digital strategy in Higher Education?

COVID-19 and digital learning

Some of us, untouched by the personal tragedy at this time, may be forgiven for seeing the COVID-19 pandemic as a huge opportunity – an opportunity for boosting digital learning in Higher Education.

Whether through existing strategy or changed direction, brought about by the sudden need to deliver teaching and assessments remotely, many Universities are considering their changed future. The HBR article “Higher Ed Needs a Long-Term Plan for Virtual Learning“ in May 2020 echoes this thinking.

EOCCS, EFMDs Online Course Certification System, is designed to recognise good practice in all areas of Business and Management online learning. Chapter 1 of the EOCCS standards focuses on the Institution offering the course.

EOCCS Institutions

COVID-19 has revealed that some Universities have reacted in crisis mode to “going digital“, pressing “made-for-face-to-face“ learning support tools into service as online learning platforms. In truth, technology is the smallest of the issues to contend with. A strong digital strategy will not only consider IT investment but also investment in people and partnerships as online delivery works most effectively with a team of specialists – not simply the “sage on the stage“ academic.

The market also needs to be researched and understood, as my previous Blog on “Millennial Mindsets” attempts to outline. Today’s students, from Bachelors to Executive Education, have different needs and different expectations than their forebears.

A digital divide?

Of course, some institutions will still rely on their brand strength, their status, boosted by league table positions, research excellence and reputation, to offer their unique experiences to students. Many, however, will wish to maintain numbers and revenues by tapping into digital markets and have a more extensive digital presence. This will highlight a clear distinction between institutions. Both will need digital strategies if they are to navigate their “new reality” successfully.

Beyond that, there will also need to be new staffing policies, new skills for academics, new opportunities for learning and instructional designers, and new resources dedicated to online excellence.

EOCCS experience

Each successful EOCCS certification shares an Institutional commitment to digital learning – as part of its offering or as the whole of its ethos. The complete list of certified courses is here.

In the EFMD online community, we share this experience both informally and formally. We use webinars, workshops and our annual symposium, together with blog posts, like this one, to disseminate good practice and to support Business Schools and Corporate Trainers.

Please share your insights and comments below and join in our Community activities.