Enhanced e+ program blends the best of in-class and online learning

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When designing a new marketing program with online components, Professor Ajay Sirsi knew he and Instructional Designer Garima Gupta had to offer participants more than just the convenience of learning at home. For an in-class course with a significant online component to be successful, it had to provide added value that would truly enhance the learning experience.

The new blended-learning program introduced by the Schulich Executive Education Centre (SEEC)– Achieving Integrated Marketing, Sales & Customer Strategies – was designed to do just that. It was intended to add value through best use of online technology’s unique capabilities to enhance the in-class experience. It launched in 2017 and was recognized as best in class by the International E-Learning Association (IELA) in the Blended Learning category at the 2018 academic division awards in September at the ICL Conference in Kos, Greece.

“The combination of online and in-class components makes for a better learning experience,” says Sirsi. “There are things you can do online that make it very conducive to the student’s learning journey.”

In addition to the obvious benefits of an in-class experience, SEEC’s newest program allows students to make use of online technology where it is most effective. For example, to ensure maximum comprehension, participants can measure their understanding of the material through periodic quizzes and check their progress in understanding the material. Each of the 10 interactive program modules begins with a video presentation by Sirsi, followed by a quiz. When completed, students are presented a question for reflection that forms the basis of an online discussion board. Participation is encouraged by making it a requisite part of the course, which leads to a certificate of completion. The course is designed to create an online learning community among the students who have already met face to face during the in-class component of the course. Touchpoints are interspersed throughout the course to ensure every student access to peers and the instructor.

The current state of e-learning best practice was used to design online conferences and applied-learning projects that are an integral part of the course material unique to this program. The video conferencing module of the learning management system used in the course puts students in the virtual classroom with their instructor for live sessions where each can present to the group using presentation material in real time. With pre-work material and project ideas submitted in advance, Sirsi can use these conferences to refer specifically to work the students are doing on their own marketing and sales solutions and make personal recommendations one on one. Participants also receive templates and a copy of Sirsi’s book, Marketing Led – Sales Driven, as a recommended resource for further learning.

For all these reasons, Sirsi likes to refer to the new program as an “Enhanced Learning” experience designed to make the student’s journey through the material both memorable and rewarding.

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Achieving Integrated Marketing, Sales & Customer Strategies – Enhanced (which starts Feb. 25, 2019) is a program for marketers and sales executives who want to understand the critical relationship between marketing planning and sales execution. The goal of the program is to teach participants how to align marketing, sales and other functions around the customer to increase sales and profitability.

Professor Ajay Sirsi is a senior marketing and sales professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University and an instructor at the Schulich Executive Education Centre. He is a top consultant to organizations, and the creator of the marketing and sales methodology called Marketing Led – Sales Driven (MLSD), used by hundreds of firms globally to develop strong marketing strategies followed by flawless implementation at the sales and customer levels.

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