Distance learning after the Covid crisis

The use of distance learning (e-learning) is not new in higher education.  However, it has never before been made permanent in a programme.  "At the Department of Economics and Management with a staggered timetable (HD), a working group was quickly set up to begin a long-term reflection on how to integrate e-learning into the usual programmes of staggered timetable courses in a permanent manner," explains Jean-Yves Gnabo.  "Indeed, our audience is special because they usually have to juggle their private and professional lives with their courses.  Hybrid teaching was therefore perfectly suited to the circumstances.  But it had to be made operational and effective!

A consultative method

During the 2021-2022 academic year, an assessment was carried out, with the help of a survey of some fifty students. Here are the highlights:

  • 90% of students think that the right number of distance learning sessions should be two or more (compared to a 4-session week);
  • 70% of students say that e-learning saves them time (transport and learning), has allowed them to better combine their studies with their family/work life and has allowed them to value the tools and skills acquired through e-learning.
  • They said that they sometimes found it difficult to stay motivated and focused when the course was delivered 100% at a distance but felt that these difficulties could be overcome by appropriate teaching methods.

The objective of this survey was of course to find a hybrid formula that would satisfy most students.  At the same time, a lot of reflection has taken place between the teachers and the Education and Technology Department (DET).

The first phase of this project is now complete.  It has enabled the courses to be labelled for a period of 3 years in relation to most of the systems.  The "distance" courses, about 50%, and those built around the classroom are already visible in the course programmes (see the brochure below).  This allows students to better project themselves in their training and to envisage it in a serene way.

A balance between face-to-face and distance learning and an adapted teaching method

The second phase, which will begin in the next academic year (2022-2023), is the phase of pedagogical identity.  At present, all HD courses in economics and management combine distance and face-to-face courses in a balanced way. Distance learning for its flexibility and the time savings it provides. Face-to-face to stimulate exchanges and group dynamics. Over the course of the year, DET observers will observe and record the teaching approaches in order to identify the preferred approaches.  These could eventually become a kind of trademark. In this way, these courses will be able to offer the best of both worlds thanks to a wide range of devices and adapted teaching approaches.

A project that will allow us to serenely consider the opportunities for very stimulating pedagogical innovation, both from the point of view of teachers and students, to discover other ways of learning and to make the most of them to envisage the professional future, where collaboration and distance learning are part of everyday life.

The teams involved

Department of the Faculty of Economics, Social Sciences and Management
  • Jean-Yves Gnabo, director and Denise Van Dam, pedagogical coordinator
  • Corentin Burnay, Auguste Debroise, Wafa Hammedi, Eric Toulmonde and Lorenzo Tirmarchi
Education and Technology Department (DET)
  • Valérie Wathelet, Charlotte Sine, Valérie Tonneau

Who is this training for?

These courses are aimed at people with a higher education diploma or 5 years of professional experience, who are curious, willing, and demanding, and who wish to develop their critical thinking skills and gain a better understanding of today's major social and economic challenges or the profound changes taking place in the business world.