Although the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing crisis has caused all kinds of upheavals, it has also enabled many companies to demonstrate their resilience and adaptability and embrace digital technologies. Social distancing and public health restrictions have also forced us to transform our practices and habits in terms of socializing, working, consuming, or even learning.
Digital learning—also referred to as online or distance learning (depending on the format)—became essential for young people during the first lockdown, as well as for adults who were already following training programs, thanks to the reactivity and commitment of academic institutions. While some of them already offered a few distance learning courses, the challenge was to go even further in the digitalization of their processes and training offer, while guaranteeing a high impact learning experience. HEC Paris has been able to meet this challenge successfully, by drawing on its years of experience in the field of digital learning to offer companies fully online programs.
Digital learning, a must-have in the world of education
COVID-19 has taught us that even the people who are the most resistant to change are able to adapt. We have seen and experienced this for ourselves, as employees and professionals had no choice but to work from home, in order to keep the economy going. As we speak, a large proportion of the workforce is still working remotely. While the experience is far from being perfect, working from home—and the digitalization this entails—has undeniably provided us with a rapid solution to a major problem. Training and education have followed the same route, in order to provide learning continuity for people of all ages, which is essential for the future of our society.
The fact that we can no longer travel or gather in groups has led to a boom in digitalized courses around the world. However, successful digitalization is not within everyone’s reach during a crisis. HEC Paris, like many other institutions, has turned this constraint into an opportunity to consolidate and expand its distance learning offering to companies.
Digital learning, an agile and impactful methodology
Digitalizing training programs is much more than just transferring content that is normally taught in the classroom to an online platform. A fully online program requires substantial technical, organizational, financial, and human resources in order to provide a memorable and impactful learning experience.
For several years, HEC Paris has been offering online programs for senior managers and executives, such as online certificates in finance and strategy. In 2018, we launched the online MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, run in partnership with Coursera, with the aim of creating a community of entrepreneurs on a global scale.
“Three years ago, we launched a Master’s in Innovation and Entrepreneurship taught exclusively online”, states Eloïc Peyrache, Dean of HEC Paris, in Challenges. “It now has 250 participants from 45 different countries, including North America”. This first successful experiment with a fully online degree program has paved the way for other opportunities. The school has adapted its offer and now proposes a 3-step ‘Think/Teach/Act’ experience for companies wishing to develop their teams.
The 5 pillars of digital learning at HEC Paris Executive Education for companies
At a time when the world is still undergoing strict health-related restrictions, many companies have understood the value of adopting digital learning approaches. This alternative to face-to-face teaching represents a source of new opportunities for companies, as well as for their teams—fewer trips, more people trained, a lower budget, etc. "Deciding to run a fully online course with HEC Paris was an obvious choice because we wanted to bring together our learners based in different countries and innovate in terms of educational approaches”, says César Awad, International Training Manager, Global Learning and Development, at Essilor International.
At HEC Paris Executive Education, we have developed a range of digital learning programs based on five key pillars. These cornerstones embody our desire to continue transforming people and companies in an increasingly demanding economic context, because we firmly believe that skills and knowledge play a crucial role in overcoming any challenge. Our five pillars can be summed up in five words that are synonymous with opportunity and results.
#1 Flexibility: This is the fundamental characteristic of digital learning. With on-demand content available 24 hours a day, participants can learn whenever they want, and wherever they are. There is no longer any need to travel, which is both time-consuming and expensive, and distance learning also enables you to train more people if your teams are scattered around the world. Everyone can therefore immerse themselves in the challenges and vision of your company during the learning process.
#2 Quality: This is the key focus at HEC Paris, and the quality of our online content is driven by our commitment to excellence. Lively, interactive and action-based, our programs foster commitment and the application of knowledge by capitalizing on different learning tools (quizzes, games, videos, discussions in sub-groups, etc.). Each program adopts a ‘Learning by doing’ approach through practical cases and role-plays, which enables participants to apply the skills they have acquired in their professional environment. Our professors run high-quality programs, either from our catalog or tailor-made, in other words co-developed with you to meet the specific needs of your company.
#3 Support: Our project teams provide personalized, individual, agile and collaborative support before, during and after the program. Our support teams accompany the participants through all the stages of the learning process to ensure that the program is effective. Another guarantee of the quality and effectiveness of the program is the sharing of inspiring hands-on experiences by renowned professors, entrepreneurs, professionals and experts.
#4 Community: A learning experience without borders enables us to create groups with a greater diversity of profiles and backgrounds, which inevitably enriches the program. We actively promote genuine cohesion and close working relationships within each class by organizing events and networking opportunities, both in-person and online, all around the world (ice breakers, breaks, afterwork events, etc.). This sense of community is also ensured by a dedicated teaching team, a community manager and class representatives.
#5 Impact: Customer satisfaction is our priority. That is why we strive to ensure that you achieve the results you expect. We constantly measure the impact of our programs and monitor learner development in order to adapt the content, if necessary, or to offer additional courses to some of the participants. Lifelong learning is a virtuous circle that enables companies to attract and retain talent, while boosting performance. The impact of digital technology also reaches far beyond organizations and institutions—opting for digital technologies helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
Digital learning is now an integral part of our program portfolio. Several companies and their employees have now tested this format and are convinced by the experience. "The quality of the work and collaboration between Essilor and HEC Paris has been remarkable. We received requests from other participants who wanted to join the course, which has been a real success and has created a positive momentum within the teams. This program is now one of the essential courses in our catalog” states César Awad.
Each company currently faces specific challenges, and the aim of our Corporate Learning Department is to help you meet your specific needs with customized and tailor-made programs.
Find out more on our Corporate Learning page.