A Checklist for Running a World-class Executive Education Programme
After two decades of designing, managing, and teaching executive education programmes, I have a checklist that helps me guide the learning journey successfully so that all parties achieve their desired outcome.
The complete checklist is too long to include in this article. I will focus on the portion of the checklist that ensures that the lecturer can deliver their best work to the audience.
An item on the checklist that is essential is that of managing the expectations of the audience. This is especially important when the audience is made up of a combination of live and online delegates.
This delivery method is a Frankenstein product that often has the label of a “hybrid” course. This form of hybrid should not be confused with the learning structure where delegates cover pre-recorded video and written content and then attend a live lecture to explore and elaborate on what they learned.
The Frankenstein hybrid course requires the online delegates to dial into an online meeting hosted on Teams or Zoom. The live delegates are sitting in a lecture venue with the facilitator.
If the word Frankenstein didn’t give it away, a big red flag should signal the obvious problem with this set-up. This hybrid design was concocted by someone with little experience in delivering a first-class learning experience to an audience.
Facilitating an online class is entirely different to facilitating a live lecture. Putting these two together is like mixing oil and water. However, if the sales numbers are so bad that the only way to attract delegates is to offer this type of programme, then it is essential to have the following in place:
1. A high-quality video camera that tracks the lecturer as they move around the room. Expecting the lecturer to sit in front of their laptop camera is amateur hour 101.
2. A sound recording/delivery system that allows the lecturer to move freely around the lecture room as one would when engaging a live audience.
3. A dedicated person who sits in the lecture and manages the interaction with the online delegates.
4. Online delegates must be able to use a chat function to ask questions. These questions should be read out by the person who is overseeing the online delegates.
5. Online delegates must also be able to ask questions so that their voice is projected into the lecture room for everyone to hear.
6. Online and live delegates must have the facilities to be able to break away and work in groups.
None of the responsibility to manage items 1–6 above should be that of the lecturer. Nor should it be the lecturer’s responsibility to provide any of the hardware required to facilitate this process.
Delivering a world-class executive learning experience is difficult. It requires a high degree of competence from a team of people whose responsibility is to create an environment where a content expert can deliver their best work.
Important qualification…this checklist should only be applied where one aspires to deliver world-class corporate education and not simply “tick the box” because the word executive is in the title of the programme.