According to new UNICON research1, executive education clients want an integrated learning experience where all the parts of the program hang together in a logical and consistent way and the connections between the parts are clear.2 Clients believe that these program elements are extremely important to the success of a customized executive education program.3
Here are a few ideas that you can use to deliver an integrated and coherent learning experience.
- Identify a theme that captures the essence of the challenge being addressed. Be sure to look at company documents and talk to program sponsors to find out how they talk about their strategy, challenges and strategic initiatives. They may have themes and key phrases that you can use. You can use this theme as the program name and come back to the theme throughout the program.
- Break the challenge being addressed into its component parts and design learning activities to address them. Create a diagram showing how the program activities relate to each component and use it throughout the program to show where you’ve been and where you’re going.
- When a program covers a diverse set of topics, as mini-MBA programs for high potentials and programs based on competency models often do, be sure to find a broad theme that encompasses all the topics. For example, a program designed around a competency model might be called “Meeting the Leadership Challenge”. Or, a program for high potentials might be called “Building for the Future”.
- In any case, be sure that the theme and the name of the program provide a clear and concise way of thinking about how the program contributes to the participants’ and the company’s success. This makes the purpose clear and provides a ready answer to the question “What is this program about?”
I’ve developed a worksheet to help you implement these ideas. I hope you find it useful.
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1 Designing and Delivering Customized Programs with Impact: A UNICON Research Report, by Elizabeth Weldon, PhD. UNICON is the International Consortium of Business School Executive Education providers. The complete report is available here.
2 The survey listed thirty-three elements of a customized program and respondents rated the importance of each one for a program’s success. One hundred sixteen UNICON clients and prospects recruited by twenty-three UNICON schools completed the survey.
3 This item on the survey scored 5.0 on a six-point scale, showing that coherence and integration are extremely important for the success of a customized program.
|How important is this program element to the success of a customized program?||Average||sd|
|An integrated learning experience where all parts of the program hang together in a logical and consistent way and the connections between the parts are clear.||5.05||1.03|
The rating scale was: 1 = Not important; 2 = Somewhat important; 3 = Fairly important; 4 = Very important; 5 = Extremely important; 6 = Essential, should be in every program.