As the business environment grows, changes, transforms and shifts, so too must the way we educate the next generation of leaders, according to American InterContinental University’s (AIU) new white paper, “The Future of Graduate Business Education: The Adaptive MBA.” While the Master of Business Administration (MBA) plays an integral role in business achievement today and has for decades, its structure and mode of delivery have seen significant shifts over time as programs align with ever-evolving societal and industry needs.
Today, we are at the next turning point: The MBA must once again evolve to adapt to the needs of an expanding group of students so it can provide the flexibility, focus and personalization needed to stay relevant to both students and employers.
The Case for Change
MBA programs once mainly attracted individuals who saw themselves moving into prestigious roles as leaders of major companies and consulting firms, but the current complexity of running organizations of all kinds means that more and more individuals across sectors — as well as across disciplines beyond business — are going back to earn a master’s degree in business. Adapting to this expanding pool of learners, colleges and universities must strive to meet students where they are with an approach to teaching and learning that better accommodates the different ways people learn, the different paces at which they progress, and the different points from which they begin.
In late 2013, IBM predicted just such a scenario, in which “the classroom of the future will learn about each individual student over the course of their education, helping students master the skills critical to meeting their goals.” The company hypothesized that a cognitive technological system would someday be able to “find out the students’ learning style and develop a plan that addresses their knowledge gaps.” In fact, this approach is already available, delivered via advanced adaptive learning technology.
The MBA’s Next Step Forward: Adaptive Learning Technology
Adaptive learning technology combines a sophisticated analytical engine with robust instructional content to deliver data-driven personalized learning that gives instructors the unique ability to understand what students know on an individual level and identify where they have the greatest opportunity to grow their knowledge base. Truly learner-centric, adaptive learning allows students to guide the pace and sequence of instruction to ensure they aren’t bored with content they already know or frustrated by a pace that might leave them behind.
In April 2014, AIU launched the first MBA program in the United States driven by adaptive learning technology, utilizing a comprehensive content map to guide students through the curriculum based on his or her current knowledge state and optimal learning style. Known as intellipath®, AIU’s proprietary adaptive learning technology generates more than 11 million data points every day that provide AIU and its faculty a deep, real-time understanding of each student’s learning path. This continual flow of insights into their abilities, challenges and progress allows the university not only to serve students on a highly individualized level, but also to continually assess and update course content and how it is delivered to improve the overall learning experience.
Download the White Paper
For a more in-depth look at the evolution of the MBA, the function of adaptive learning and how advanced adaptive learning technology can work to support a graduate-level curriculum, click below to download the white paper by Robert Manzer, Ph.D., Provost of American InterContinental University, and Judy Bullock, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Business.