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Ilanet.CorporateUniversitiesr1.4 - 26 May 2019 - 13:48 - GregorioIvanoff

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Free from the constraints of academic institutions, corporate universities are often on the cutting edge of education technology. There we find the use of distance learning techniques bringing far-flung co-workers into a common forum. We also find virtual universities, where the connection between student and teacher is via cyberspace.


Educating Jamaica for Production and Prosperity. Jamaica Observer, . Utterance by Leahcim Semaj, Friday, February 6, 1998. Available from < http://www.jobbank-ja.com/downloads/educatejamaica.asp >.


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In a recent issue of Fortune Magazine, a detailed look was presented on a revolutionary concept referred to as Corporate Universities. I think this concept could be useful in the Jamaican context as we attempt to educate ourselves for productivity and prosperity. In the USA, 9.8% of their gross domestic product is spent on education. This represents a total 619 billion US dollars. Interestingly, 60 billion of this is targeted on the corporate education market. We are told that this is second only to health care spending which attracts 14% of the US gross national product. Health care in the US has grown as a function of being market driven, the same forces are now challenging the educational system to better meet the needs of the customers. It appears to me that the development of corporate universities is one of the main vehicles that is currently enabling the US economy to remain competitive in the global market place.

A corporate university is really an extended in-house educational training programme for a company. It is specifically designed to maintain tighter ownership and control of the learning outcome so as to meet the company’s priorities. Too often when staff members are sent to other institutions for training, the connection with the company’s objectives become secondary and are sometimes lost. The corporate university has evolved as part of the strategic effect to focus the purpose of educating employees, customers and suppliers on the company’s needs. In 1988, the United States recorded 400 corporate universities. Ten years later, more than 1000 are in operation. Free from the constraints of academic institutions, corporate universities are often on the cutting edge of education technology. There we find the use of distance learning techniques bringing far-flung co-workers into a common forum. We also find virtual universities, where the connection between student and teacher is via cyberspace. In a recent annual survey of corporate universities, some interesting trends were noted. They are as follows: 1. There was closer alignment of the goal of education to the strategies of the particular business. Interestingly, some companies have evolved the post of Chief Learning Officer. This individual is often responsible for linking education to the critical business strategies. The survey shows that in almost 20% of these institutions, Chief Learning Officers report directly to the CEO. It is believed that this trend will grow as companies seek to strengthen the partnership between education and business goals.

2. The second trend is a greater involvement on the part of the leaders of these corporations in the learning process. In many companies with corporate universities, top management, including the CEO, spends an average of one day each month facilitating the learning process. This provides the important role model for the rest of the executives. It consolidates the commitment of the leaders to the learning process. Too often in Jamaica, executives do not attend or participate in staff training and development.

3. The third area noted is the increased use of technology to measure, track and accelerate the learning process. Corporate universities are using solutions which provide not just high-tech but also high-touch methodologies. The result is a combination of fun, entertaining and engaging programmes. At present only about 20% of the corporate universities utilise cutting edge technology, but the prediction is that by the year 2000 this will grow to more than 50%. It is also predicted that much of the training will be done via the company’s intranet. In fact, the prediction is that intranet will account for more than 1/3 of all training delivered via technology.

4. The fourth area indicated the development of a range of innovative alliances with other institutions of higher education. This involves an increase in joint degree programmes with other colleges and universities. The survey showed that 40% of the corporate universities had such plans in place. The degrees were primarily in the area of graduate degrees in Business Administration, Engineering, Finance and Computer Science. The main driving force behind this was to provide more portability of educational credentials.

5. The fifth inference coming from this recent study indicates the use of corporate universities as a branded competitive advantage and profit centre. The corporate university is seen to elevate the organisation’s brand name and it’s reputation for business excellence. In many instances, they use the same techniques and technology used for their business products to market the corporate training programmes to outside interests. Presently in Jamaica there is a handful of companies moving in this direction. The ones with which I’m familiar are doing an excellent job. I only hope that companies that do not yet understand and appreciate the educational base on which growth occurs will wake up and join the revolution before it’s too late.

-- Main.guest - 07 Jan 2004


Keywords: technology-delivered training, collaboration in profit, corporate education, context dynamics


Português: universidades corporativas

-- GregorioIvanoff - 12 Apr 2018
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