Dr. Scott Moore is a former Principal Learning Strategist at Extension Engine. In this role, he led the global Custom Learning Experience practice. He worked with dozens of nonprofit, higher education, and learning business organizations as they considered using online learning to support their mission and margin, using his deep understanding of organizational dynamics, online learning, strategic differentiation, decision-making, and more. Prior to joining Extension Engine, he was a faculty member, administrator, and dean at Michigan Ross and Babson College for 20+ years. He holds an M.B.A. from Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Organizations that use teaching, mentoring, or consulting to deliver their mission have likely faced an existential challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, restricting in-person connections. Perhaps they had previously considered moving online but had not yet made that commitment. When the pandemic struck, they had to quickly transition to an online-only delivery model. This has probably involved copious amounts of Zoom and Google Hangouts. Organizations have no doubt discovered that filming a play and calling it a movie does not result in Avatar.
The pandemic has challenged higher education institutions to move their courses online quickly. The varied status of each school prohibits a one-size-fits-all prescription for how to move forward. Extension Engine has created an Online Learning Response Team (OLRT) to work with schools with varying needs to define (and help execute) an efficient, holistic, adaptable approach to getting online. In this article, I describe our approach, highlight our work with two vastly different schools, and then provide a quick description of next steps to determine if this would work for you.
Institutions of higher education need to get their courses online. When this consists of 500, 1000, 5000, or more courses, it is clear that the institution’s efforts at supporting its faculty need to be targeted. In order to know where to direct its support efforts, school leadership needs to understand where it has its greatest exposure to risk in the transition from face-to-face to online. Extension Engine has recently helped a college go through the process of building a framework for assessing its own particular risk exposure and designing a survey to gather the information to help measure its risk exposure. We are currently helping them interpret that data and build a plan that responds to it.
Digital transformation is a long journey, one that we have helped several organizations navigate. The first steps are uncertain, the unknowns are many, but the potential payoff is large. Answers to the following questions can help you determine whether or not you’re ready to take those first steps. We run through these questions very early in the "getting to know you" stage with the project champion as a way for the potential client to learn how Extension Engine thinks about projects.