Stanford Graduate School of Business Creates New Online Executive Learning Experience

Innovative certificate program brings Stanford’s exceptional on-campus teaching elements to interactive, collaborative online experience.

November 05, 2014

Stanford Graduate School of Business has introduced a new, online model for executive learning. It recreates the intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience in an interactive online environment. Participants will engage with a select cohort of peers, collaborate on projects, interact directly with coaches and faculty, and gain insights from successful global leaders.

Professor DeMarzo speaking with LEAD certificate participants

“The program brings these compelling elements of Stanford to the world of online executive learning for the first time by combining a highly selective cohort and technology that enables self-paced learning, shared team work, and a cloud-based immersive space for group experiences,” said Peter DeMarzo, Faculty Director for Educational Technology at Stanford GSB.

LEAD Certificate: Corporate Innovation

The new model will launch with the Stanford LEAD, which aspires to help participants learn, engage, accelerate, and disrupt. It is aimed at professionals who wish to drive new initiatives and effectively implement change within their organizations. The eight-course program will help participants develop their abilities to identify the ideas that deliver the most impact and to overcome organizational barriers.

The program integrates real-time class discussions, ongoing feedback from world-class faculty and high-quality peers, engaging instructional video, online exercises, group projects, live-streamed events at Stanford GSB, and access to Silicon Valley leaders.

The certificate will include three foundational courses:

  • Financing Innovation: The Creation of Value
  • Critical Analytical Thinking
  • Strategic Leadership

Participants will choose five innovation-focused electives from among ten that include:

  • Design Thinking: Building Brands Inside Out
  • Startup Garage for Intrapreneurs
  • Business Model Design
  • Using Neuroscience to Influence Behavior

Over the next several years, the school expects to offer other certificate tracks in addition to Corporate Innovation, DeMarzo said.

“Developing an online pedagogy gave us the freedom to think anew about how people can best learn, retain, and use this material,” said DeMarzo. “We’ve created a Stanford experience that people can digest on their own turf, at their own pace, and apply in real time.”

Not a MOOC

Unlike Massive Open Online Courses, participants in the Stanford LEAD Certificate will be chosen by application into a select cohort of executives. This will enable all participants to interact directly with faculty, receive meaningful feedback, and benefit from a learning community of like-motivated peers. No more than 100 participants will be admitted to the first 2015 cohort.

Stanford GSB has chosen to incorporate a suite of technologies to support this multifaceted, interactive experience, including the NovoEd online learning environment to enable team-based projects and collaboration.

Broadening Portfolio of Blended Online Offerings

The Stanford LEAD Certificate: Corporate Innovation is the latest addition to a portfolio of online offerings created by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. In the last four years, the school has greatly expanded its online education resources with the creation of broadcast studios, editing bays, and high-definition video technology, to enable further cutting-edge online learning experiences.

The Stanford Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, jointly developed and taught by faculty from the School of Engineering and Stanford GSB, is a collection of independent, self-paced online courses covering a range of topics relevant to entrepreneurs and innovators. Participants may take the courses individually or earn the certificate by completing eight of twelve courses, in any order or combination.

The school also offers Stanford Ignite, a live, blended nine-week, part-time program using high-definition video conferencing in six innovation hubs around the world including Bangalore; Beijing; Paris; New York; Santiago, Chile; and Stanford. Ignite aims to help technical professionals and STEM graduate students without business backgrounds drive new ventures or innovative projects in their organizations.

Together, these programs create a range of ways that executives and professionals can access business learning — via self-paced, à la carte online modules, cohort-based online learning, and live distance programs.

The new online LEAD certificate’s media-rich, interactive visual technologies allow access to cases and infographics that bring complex subjects alive. Carefully distilled video lectures created by Stanford faculty and instructional designers will form a foundation of easy-to-reference knowledge for the program. All participants will need is a video-enabled computer and an internet connection — to participate from anywhere in the world. The program is designed to be completed within a year, at a pace of two courses per quarter. Including required assignments, team projects, and cohort events, participants should anticipate spending approximately five hours a week in the program.

Overall, the Stanford LEAD Certificate will deliver more than 200 hours of content and faculty engagement. Content will include personal development tools, direct faculty access, workshops, live-streamed Stanford events, interactive exercises, and experiential and project-based activities. Those who successfully complete the program will earn both a paper certificate and a LEAD Certificate badge for public posting to LinkedIn profiles.

LEAD Admission Criteria

Participants will be chosen based on their motivation for developing new products, services, cultural changes, or strategic pivots in their organizations. Professionals from large and small global companies, public institutions, and nonprofits are encouraged to apply. Applicants will be asked to upload a short two-minute video about why they wish to take the certificate program and in what area of their organization they want to have impact. Applicants will be asked to show demonstrated resourcefulness and capability to affect change in an organization.

– Barbara Buell

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