The Value-Add of In-Class Learning

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A variety of learning modalities are now available in executive education. How does the traditional in-class approach measure up?

There is no doubt that there are times when the flexibility and convenience of online programs make them the most attractive choice of learning modality. But the in-person component of blended e-learning and traditional in-class programs offers students unique value-added dimensions which help maximize their executive education learning experience in a number of ways.

Organizations have started re-emphasizing the importance of interpersonal communication skills and emotional intelligence in the workplace. Learning alongside a peer group of adults from different backgrounds mirrors the professional environment, where success is achieved through exemplary communication skills, building effective relationships and aptitudes for consensus building and conflict resolution.

Experiential learning is the best way to impart these skills and techniques. Through collaborative group assignments, role playing, face-to-face discussion and simulations students train directly to practice the application of material being taught, things that are hard to facilitate online.

Furthermore, it has been noted that distance education is not always the most time-saving measure. For some, a few days spent in an immersive, high-impact educational environment can be more efficient than an online program spread over many weeks, during which students must allocate huge chunks of time for coursework in evenings or on weekends.

Instructors have observed that it can take longer to teach some kinds of material online, and it can be more difficult to give individual attention to students who may be struggling with course content. The immediate feedback and face-to-face discussion possible with in-class learning allows students to get the most from their instructors.

Additionally, some executives value the opportunity for an intensive learning experience away from distractions, in a vibrant educational setting with faculty and professional peers. Decades of analyzing results and evaluations from students and organizational leaders has allowed executive education in-class and blended offerings to be fine-tuned and streamlined to provide maximum possible benefits for career-minded professionals.