BusinessForward

Technology

Helping Higher Education Reflect Real World Learning

Situation

A private, for-profit, higher education institute based in Pittsburgh that emphasizes design education and career preparation for the creative job market both online and at its campuses across the U.S. yet its teaching methodology (pedagogy) and its Learning Management System (LMS) did not reflect the real-world vision for the student experience that the leadership team wanted to deliver.   To transform the experience, the school needed to convert its current course catalog to the new pedagogy and identify a more modern LMS that would deliver the courses in a tool that would incorporate components including interactivity, recognition, “live” communication methods and other digital tools and chose to focus on the online modality first. In the midst of ramping up these initiatives for its online division, the current LMS provider announced it was sun-setting its LMS product within a year. Thus the focus had to be expanded to the entire school.

The SVP recognized that the process for converting courses from the present format into a new one was complex and involved many different teams and was not moving forward fast enough.  Furthermore, while they had chosen to partner with a LMS provider that was building a tool whose design the organization could influence, she quickly realized that with the addition of the ground campuses and the imminent deadline the end game had changed.

The multiple, siloed teams responsible for driving these initiatives did not have the capacity, expertise or processes in place to conduct a major vendor technology selection and convert hundreds of courses to the new pedagogy.   The teams generally did not have experience in project planning and management and were not communicating well. There was no single point of contact to lead the multiple work streams, recognize points of intersection, mitigate risks and ensure quick and timely execution.

Time was of the essence to ensure continuity for students.


Solution

BusinessForward provided a dedicated, experienced project director to provide leadership to move the project forward and to lead the team through this multi-faceted transformation of the student experience through our Program Management solution.  As a trusted, objective, and informed advisor, the project director would ensure that the project is continuously aligned with business strategy and goals and act as a leader for their multiple teams.

  1. Through the Program Management solution, BusinessForward conducted pilots with the original selected LMS to validate the value of the new pedagogy within a new LMS
  2. Created project plans and managed to them
  3. Documented processes for course conversion
  4. Facilitated workshops to gather business requirements and document them
  5. Conducted system demos and proof of concept testing and all related documentation and communication
  6. Created cross-functional teams and communications resulting in streamlined, efficient workflow
  7. Conducted behavioral assessments and defined roles to ensure “right people, right tasks”

Results

Through an expedited delivery, our support has greatly accelerated the conversion process to ensure that when the new LMS is launched, the data will be complete.  The number of courses converted more than doubled from 16 in the first year to 38 over two quarters in the current fiscal year with 40 more in production.

The software selection process has been completed from requirements gathering to proof of concept and the leadership team presented a business case with their recommendation to the CEO. Contracts are now being negotiated. This process was completed over the course of 6 months, which the customer informed us was half the amount of time it would have taken its teams to complete.


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