“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” ………….Confucius
The teaching pedagogy for any professional course to a large extent is inspired by this proverb by Confucius, said more than two thousand five hundred years ago. A doctor can become a good surgeon only after performing surgery by himself and not by reading, listening or watching others. Similar is the case with the lawyers, engineers and architects. Business Management or administration also falls under similar category of professional education, where learning has to be imparted more through experience rather than through lectures and books.
The MBA / PGDM pedagogy has to be such that it makes the students understand and experience the business problems and find their creative and feasible solutions. Also, they should be able to utilize the technology aided tools, wherever possible. In the subsequent paragraphs, some of the teaching methods that may be highly effective in contemporary management education, are being discussed. Though some of these are already in practice, they need to be imbibed across all the MBA and PGDM institutions.
1. Case study method: The real life business problems are usually given in the form of a story and students are asked to find possible alternate solutions, considering various environmental factors.
2. Presentations: Topics related to the course are given in advance to the students, who then make the oral presentation with or without the help of audio-visual aids. The Q&A session at the end is held to resolve queries from the participants.
3. Situation handling and Role Plays: Students are assigned certain roles in a given situation and they have to respond according to their characters. The process is usually repeated to make the students understand the various alternative actions and their repercussions
4. Field Projects / Assignments: Students are given tasks such as understanding customers buying behavior, analyzing the financial performance of a company, finding out the best HR practices, understanding the logistic processes in a firm, etc. These are then written down in the form of a project report and submitted for evaluation.
5. Business Quiz / Exercises: Periodic assessment of the learning provided is normally done through quiz and exercises, which can be oral, MCQ or short answer type.
6. Simulations games / Hands-on experience: With the help of customized software tools students are exposed to real business situations and they have to take strategic decisions while competing with each other. Stock market related software are sometimes used to provide experience of live share trading on the virtual world.
7. Movies / Videos / Video clips: Faculty utilizes the video clippings to explain the management concepts as well as pros & cons of strategic decisions taken
8. Blended Learning: It includes mix of both traditional class room as well as digital mode of teaching. At times, online lectures are conducted through webinars / video conferencing by the senior corporate, renowned academicians or a researcher located elsewhere.
9. Keller plan: Also known as Personalized System of Instruction (PSI). The complete course material is broken down into smaller units. Students have to appear for the evaluation after completion of each unit. Only those proceed to the next unit, who qualify certain minimum percentage of marks.
10. Z to A approach: In this approach, the application part of a particular concept is discussed first and later the theory is related to it. It makes the understanding of a particular concept better among the students and retention is also higher.
11. Brain storming: Panel discussions or brain storming is done by giving a certain problem to the group of students and asking them to find the feasible solution. It helps in building team work, idea sharing and creative approach among the students
12. Research papers / Article critical review: The students individually or in groups are asked to write the research paper under supervision of faculty. They are also supposed to write their critical review on published articles, related to the course topics.
13. Extempore speech / Class debates: This is another commonly used method in which faculty might ask the students to speak on the topic recently covered in the class. Also, students may be given a problem or a situation and asked to debate their own view points.
Thanks to globalization, organizations are moving across national boundaries and employees are getting heavily exposed to cross cultural management practices. Thus, Business schools need to adopt innovative teaching pedagogy in order to prepare the global management professionals.
DR. SUMESH RAIZADA
Professor, JIMS Rohini, Delhi