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Is Forum Academy the future of executive education?

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Is Forum Academy the future of executive education?

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It seems a long time ago now, but at the height of MOOC mania back in 2012 I interviewed Howard E Horton, President, New England College of Business and Finance on both the growing use of MOOCs and how they might impact executive education in the short and medium term.

Back then, Mr Horton wasn’t all that optimistic about the future of MOOCs, describing them as something of a flash in the pan, with a limited shelf life.  Suffice to say, I’m not sure he’ll be proven right on that prediction, and news this week that edX have teamed up with the World Economic Forum to launch a MOOC site aimed squarely at executive education seems to confirm that.

The platform, known as the Forum Academy, aims to provide continuous leadership development for both professionals and organisations.

The blurb for the site suggests it will:

  • catalyse an online global learning environment for continuous and certified professional development
  • create a world-class curriculum, providing cutting-edge global, regional and sectorial knowledge
  • establish a network of academic and other members to develop standards, best practices and joint certification models

Hopefully the courses themselves won’t be filled with quite so much jargon.  Anyway.  The courses themselves are not free, which marks a clear distinction between traditional MOOCs.  The site isn’t particularly clear on just how much each course will cost, only saying that there will be both a registration fee and a certification fee.  The only course currently available on Global Technology Leadership provides all the information you’d want to know – except the price tag.

Now that may not be a bad thing, and paying for the course may work wonders in encouraging people to continue and complete their studies.  Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder of WEF was bullish over the sites prospects.

“The reshaping of our world requires professionals to develop a transformational mindset and constantly update their knowledge. However, this knowledge is becoming increasingly difficult to attain through traditional means, precisely due to the growing complexity, velocity and uncertainty in the world. Forum Academy will contribute to the mission of the Forum by providing a global audience with strategic insights on global, industry and regional developments” he said.

edX’s Anant Agarwal was equally enthusiastic about the new venture.

“Like the World Economic Forum, edX is committed to improving the lives of people around the globe. We are happy to provide the Forum Academy with the cutting-edge educational tools needed to create courses that will enable leaders – of today and tomorrow – to transform their communities, countries and regions.” he revealed.

Will it transform executive education?  Right now, I just don’t think there’s enough information to know.  It will certainly be an interesting site to keep an eye on though.

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