While executives were previously content to cover theory in a classroom, now they want more practical experience which connects with the real world, she said. This can include elements such as site visits to other firms.
“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.”
Learners are now more interested in being taught by other successful business leaders in addition to academics, she noted.
“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.”
Executive education also covers actionable topics which learners can apply on return to work, McKenzie said. 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.
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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.