Stanford GSB Creates New Online Executive Learning Experience

Stanford GSB logoStanford Graduate School of Business has launched a new, online model for executive learning that recreates the intimate and academically rigorous on-campus Stanford experience in an interactive online environment, the school announced Wednesday.

The new model will launch with the Stanford LEAD Certificate: Corporate Innovation, which aspires to help participants learn, engage, accelerate, and disrupt (LEAD). It is aimed at professionals who wish to drive new initiatives and effectively implement change within their organizations.

“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,” says Peter DeMarzo, Faculty Director for Educational Technology at the GSB.

This 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, and 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, and Using Neuroscience to Influence Behavior.

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

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

Unlike Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), 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.

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, which costs $16,000, 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.

Applications are open now through March 25, 2015, and the program will begin on May 5, 2015. Candidates must 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.

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.

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