Getting real with executive education

by James Reid29 Jun 2016

Executive education is shifting away from traditional academic offerings and onto leadership training courses which provide real-world insights and skills, said Catherine McKenzie from the Human Capital Leadership Institute.
While executives were previously content to cover theory in a classroom, they now want more practical experience which connects with the real world, she said.

And this trend is also applying to school leaders.

In many cases, the search for better professional development has taken principals to other schools to explore different innovative programs being rolled out.

In the corporate world, this practice is helping executives broaden their horizons and return to their workplaces with new ideas.
“It’s about expanding your mindset by seeing what’s being done in other companies and industries, and seeing what you can learn to bring back to your own leadership and business development,” McKenzie said.
She added that one of the biggest shifts taking place is that learners are now more interested in being taught by other successful business leaders rather than academics.
“People like to hear the personal leadership stories of other leaders. They want to hear about real failures and successes and real challenges and enjoy the candid sharing of other senior leaders,” she said.
“Executive education also covers actionable topics which learners can apply on return to work. As well as embedding the subjects taught, this also helps justify the return on investment.”
When we develop a course that has more than one module, we may put an action-learning program in between two modules. That way [learners] are able to go away and work out how to apply those learnings in the workplace themselves.
Finally, the best current courses involve blended learning since the widespread connectivity of the internet allows training to be delivered online.
This allows firms to train staff with greater efficiency, particularly to large numbers of executives, with courses partially delivered through the internet, she said.