6 Ways to Drive Teaching Effectiveness in Business Schools

Written by Sandrine Thiboutot, Explorance.

Students graduading

Teachers and professors at business schools face a particular challenge when it comes to teaching effectiveness. Unlike many other popular social sciences, the courses they teach are often directly related to future job prospects. Knowledge retention is important, like in any Higher Education program, but B-schools must also focus on job readiness for students.

What is Teaching Effectiveness?

Teaching effectiveness is the factors that positively or negatively impact a teacher’s ability to impart knowledge to their students in a higher learning education course. A tricky caveat is that even that seemingly complete definition can be interpreted differently.

For example, a teacher can be very adept at transmitting essential knowledge regarding accounting practices but fail at putting that knowledge in the context of a common business process such as a P&L. This leads to a confusing situation where the teacher considers his task accomplished. Still, the student is frustrated by the lack of real world, practical application of the teaching.

Situations as complex as this one often require a multifaceted solution. This article will outline six ways to promote teaching effectiveness while adapting to the multiple definitions of the term.

1. Promoting experiential learning

Business as an academic discipline is a relatively young field. For a long period of time, it was considered a skill that could only be learned through managing companies directly. As various models and frameworks began to take shape, business became a proper academic field. This led to exciting new developments but posed issues as students felt a disconnect between the content of their courses and the reasons why they pursued a business degree in the first place.

One of the current leading solutions to this issue is a teaching technique called experiential learning. Experiential learning is the umbrella term for activities that promote better student understanding and context within a course. This method improves teaching effectiveness by tying the course’s subject matter with real-world applications – a crucial process for any business program.

In fact, it’s seeing such impressive results that leading business schools are setting up specialized offices to study it. One of their main findings is that while most teachers recognize the importance of experiential learning, they are often scared of the time investment linked to this method.

Following their discoveries, business schools have established a continuum of example activities ranging from low effort like in-class roleplaying to full-blown class trips. This allows teachers to pick and choose the ones that fit their students’ and class’ needs to move towards an experiential learning model across the faculty.

2. Fostering workforce readiness through an evaluation culture

Student feedback is at the very core of any teaching effectiveness campaign. Asking students about their experience is one of the best ways to correctly gauge the success of current classes and future solutions. However, a universal struggle with student feedback campaigns is low engagement with the surveys.

Low survey engagement is caused by various issues, but the University of Newcastle identified one that resonates particularly with business schools. After reviewing their processes and speaking with their teachers, they realized that the mindset for these feedback campaigns was akin to a consumer satisfaction model. While that isn’t necessarily a bad assumption, it left some teachers feeling threatened by the outcome of course evaluations and students feeling out of the loop.

Their solution was to offer teachers more options to personalize the surveys to the specific subject of their class while splitting questions into research, teaching and engagement categories. This allowed the University of Newcastle to shift away from a consumer satisfaction model to a participatory teaching quality improvement model. What once was a one-way street became a powerful collaboration opportunity between the school and its students. These changes improved their engagement with the surveys and led to much smoother data gathering overall.

3. Business schools need big data

Business schools are some of the most popular higher learning institutions worldwide, with thousands of new and returning students per cohort. All of these students have the potential to have their own unique stories that will affect teaching effectiveness. Leveraging the right solution to gather and analyze feedback, will ensure higher education leaders have the ability to constructively incorporate their various backgrounds and experience levels.

Having a robust technological solution to gather and analyze feedback is an absolute must for any modern business school. Not only does it allow business schools to account for their diverse student base but it also gives students a proper voice, which also promotes student excellence.

Implementing a feedback-gathering solution allows for programs that would simply be impossible otherwise. The University of Edinburgh Business School implemented a student voice policy using the Explorance feedback-gathering solution to conduct surveys at multiple times during the student experience. They then appointed student representatives to discuss the results and find common solutions, and their weekly meetings have generated amazing.

4. Embracing remote learning

Business and management schools are known for having some of the most diverse student populations among all higher learning institutions. From varying goals, age groups, experience levels and more, B-schools cannot apply a “one size fits all” approach to teaching. Using varied teaching methods has been proven to improve knowledge retention and teaching efficiency.

Remote learning has been one of the biggest trends in education recently, and it’s one of the most significant opportunities for B-schools. Their varied student body means they must juggle a highly complex set of schedules and needs to remain relevant for their students. Additionally, business is one of the most common part-time degrees, whether employer-sponsored or not. In this situation, being flexible in teaching styles is necessary.

For many, remote learning has been experienced only as an emergency method. However, business schools have a unique opportunity to leverage remote teaching to enroll international students looking for a different perspective that isn’t available in their home country or city. Beyond simply offering courses to a wider student body, remote teaching also diversifies the types of students within business schools, leading to a richer program overall.

5. Doing coop programs justice

A large majority of B-school students will do a coop during their program. These experiences are crucial for degrees like business and management, focusing almost exclusively on hands-on skills that gain meaning once applied. However, not all coop programs are created equal, and their impact can sometimes be difficult to assess.

While coop programs are a great way to drive teaching effectiveness by connecting the classroom with the real-world applications of the taught knowledge, their effectiveness goes through the roof with proper communication between professors, teachers and the company offering the coop.

Every company has different goals, every student has different aspirations, and the class they are taking the coop in can also change the parameters. This is another situation where having a dedicated feedback-gathering solution allows everyone to be on the same page, using the same metrics to make a proper assessment and promote student excellence.

6. Using Explorance Blue

By now, it should be clear that course evaluation is a centerpiece to increasing teaching effectiveness. Many of the world’s leading Business Schools leverage Explorance Blue to centralize their course evaluation processes while natively handling complex and unique course features such as team-taught, cross-listed, hybrid, untraditional timings/schedules, and much more.

8 out of the top 10 business schools in the world and 25% of Triple-Crown Accredited institutions rely on Explorance Blue daily to run their course evaluations and student voice programs.

Blue’s robust analytics capabilities will help you identify the trends in your data and make the correct changes to improve teaching effectiveness within your institution. Using a unified technological platform gives you the responsiveness required to handle complex teaching situations. The quality of data produced by Blue has been the cornerstone of all the business schools in this whitepaper to handle intense and untraditional timings and scheduling.

Achieving Peak Teaching Effectiveness

Teaching effectiveness is about giving everyone involved the best experience possible. A higher learning institution’s true goal is to transfer knowledge most comfortably and efficiently to its students. Setting guidelines for your entire staff is essential to ensure this is happening.

Promoting teaching effectiveness within your organization should be an easy process, and it starts with proper student feedback. Read more about the business school examples mentioned in this article in the “Business and Management Education Focus Report” found in the Explorance Business School Hub.


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