Demand-based learning in higher education from an organizational perspective: an assignment at KPMG

Buijserd, Kevin (2009) Demand-based learning in higher education from an organizational perspective: an assignment at KPMG.

Abstract:This research aims to create an assessment model which helps higher educational institutions in implementing demand-based learning. The main question in this research is: According to which assessment model can KPMG advise educational institutions at implementing demand-based learning? To answer this question, three sub-questions are posed in the first section of the research. Through answering each of these questions, the assessment model at the end of this thesis could be formed. Different sources were used to answer each sub-question. A start was also made with the validation of the model, by conducting case studies at three different educational institutions. To develop the assessment model, the research starts out with defining what demand-based learning is. This is the result to the first sub-question. Different types of presentations and documents are used together with a formal literature review to come up with a definition: Demand-based learning aims to offer flexibility to students which in turn should enhance students‟ perceived quality of the educational institution. The research showed that the flexibility to make adjustments to the individual‘s curriculum is what most educational institutions value as important in demand-based learning. Flexibility in study pace was also seen as important, while flexibility in study location received little attention. The answer to the second sub-question is an impact study on demand-based learning and flexibility in organizations. Organizations were found to be limited in the level of flexibility they can offer. This level of flexibility is constrained by cost effectiveness of the organization, elements of education and quality and regulations and market demand. Case studies later showed that while the offered level of flexibility is subject to constraints, the required level of flexibility by students was also smaller than expected. For educational institutions the desired level of flexibility offered to students is indirectly established within the organization‘s vision on demand-based learning. This vision is made explicit within an educational model, which shows how different programs are built up and what types of freedom lie with the student. Demand-based learning also requires alignment of standards, rules and policies to improve interchangeability of students between different faculties within an organization. Applications and infrastructure play an important role in this for they are the main facilitators of student support processes in modern education. Case studies also showed that the introduction of educational and organizational standards can ease the introduction of support applications. The educational model determines how students can flow through an educational institution. This flow of students sets requirements for different support processes in the organization. These process requirements may also impose new application requirements. Demand-based learning can also have considerable effects on organizational culture, where roles change and different departments are forced to work together towards a common goal. The different dimensions described above have been combined to form the assessment framework. This is the result of sub-question 3. The framework starts out with the four dimensions of the ‗Klaverblad‘ model which are: Organization, processes & services, people & culture and technology & infrastructure. The results of the impact study were structured over these four dimensions and supplemented with general management best practices. The result of this is the assessment framework. This framework can be used to assess the extent to which the organization has provided input to each of the elements in the four areas of the ‗Klaverblad‘ model. It is believed that this model can provide a more structured preparation DEMAND - BA S ED L EA RN ING I N H I G HE R ED U CA T I ON KPMG P A G E 5 approach to an implementation process, as opposed to handling the different issues as they come up over time in the project. The three case studies showed that most of these dimensions were indeed important for organizations that implemented demand-based learning. They also showed wide differences between the educational models that are used. Emphasis on different elements in the assessment model differed on an organizational basis, depending on the as-is situation at the time of implementation. Case studies showed the quality of the assessment model as satisfactory. However considering the limited amount of work that has yet been carried out in this area the model cannot be viewed as a paradigm. Future research should further increase the validity of the model.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Industrial Engineering and Management MSc (60029)
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