A special report of the FT this week, deals with this issue. "Bricks and clicks work together in te world of corporate teaching", indeed focussing still and again on teaching, apparantly.
Mark Fenton -O'Creevy, director of programs and curriculum at the OU Business School confirms that "there is a lot of very poor e-learning around". I would like to make the remark that e-learning, and I am afraid also in this special report, is very often confused with e-teaching: something I have dealt with in other posts in this blog.
Enrique Dans, professor information systems at IE, maintains that the best discussions are those that happen online: students can reflect on the issue, refine their response and if necessary supplement it with additional material. The discussion section of this blog that I use to support my own course certainly confirms that. He continues that for students the sense of community develops rapidly online, something that also showed in my own experience with this blog. Clearly these remarks refer to the learning component of a business school (and not necessarily to the teaching component).
An interesting issue, discussion for years in the business schools is the growing interest (though ?) for corporate universities. First of all, I would like to draw the attention to one of my books on that subject: Virtual Corporate Universities. Gordon Shenton, director Equis, mentions the problematic relationship between Corporate Universities and business schools, mainly since the latter try to sell pre-packaged courses to the first ones. Since Corporate Universities tackle rather the strategic issues and people development, this does not complement with packaged courses. As argued in my book, virtual learning (as I understand it) should perfectly fit this corporate concern. But again, it is a pedagogical model, rather than a technological issue. Matty Smith, director of learning and teaching services at Henley warns in that respect that investments in new technology can be a waste of money if it gets in the way of learning. The suggested solution is a "blended learning" approach, which I already advocated and described roughly 5 years ago, and in more detail in my book "The Hybrid Business School" (Prentice Hall, 2000, but out of stock).
When eventually an example is given of a corporate virtual university (the one of Allianz Management Institute) suddenly there does not seem to be a lot virtual anymore. "The death rate of corporate universities would be high" and "campus programs" are described. They work with schools like IMD, London Business School or Insead, and not necessarily on tailor-made programs.
A pitty and certainly a missed opportunity. But there is still a long way to go, that is the good news.