Indian School of Business Prof on ‘Flipped’ MBA Classrooms

Business education is about to flip, says Indian School of Business Professor Arun Pereira, who predicts the days are numbered in which MBA students sit passively in lecture halls, soaking up (or not) the brilliance of their professors as it emanates from behind the lectern.

In a recent Economic Times piece, Pereira writes that advances in technology and new research on effective learning practices are ushering in more effective methods for getting tomorrow’s business leaders to synthesize the material and attain deeper levels of learning. Traditional lectures are passe, says the ISB professor, who notes that more and more of his colleagues are recording short lecture clips with voice-overs that students view prior to class so they arrive primed for active learning activities—a flip of the traditional classroom model.

As MBA programs increase the flexibility of their curricula and offer joint courses across disciplines, business students in the future may find themselves sharing coursework with others who have no interest in management. Pereira believes this mix in the classroom will require greater innovation to meet the needs of such diverse groups.

Citing the commonly accepted wisdom that the best way to learn something is to teach it, Pereira says more business school classes should be taught using role-playing and prototyping so that students teach key concepts more organically than exams and quizzes might.

“Questions in exams that require students to simply reproduce information are generally not valuable in ensuring impactful learning,” says Pereira. In order to go beyond the expected, or the status quo, students should be expected to pose questions as part of the answer to indicate that they’ve reflected on the issue sufficiently to ferret out complexities that might not be immediately obvious.

This approach works far better, he explains, because “It molds students into thinking and questioning managers, and builds a constant thirst for knowledge that is the foundation for life-long learning—critical for any manager or executive.”

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