WBS win gold at prestigious online learning awards

07 December 2020

  • Business in Practice online module impresses judges to win top prize
  • The module sees teams compete in a business simulation over two weeks
  • More than 60 staff involved in delivering seamless experience
  • Module forms part of Masters students' end-of-year assessment

Warwick Business School has won gold at the Learning Technologies Awards for its innovative online programme during the pandemic.

WBS beat off stiff competition from the likes of Imperial College Business School, retailer Boots in partnership with agency Acteon, German software multinational SAP SE and charity pairing Save The Children and World Vision International.

The school, which in March was named number one in the world in the Financial Times’ Online MBA rankings, won the top prize for Best Online Distance Learning Programme at the Learning Technologies Awards for its Masters module Business in Practice (BiP).

The module can be taken by students on some of the school’s Masters programmes instead of the traditional 6,000-word academic final dissertation and involves a two-week simulation where teams compete against each other as company executive boards before producing two individual essays on the experience.

Due to the global pandemic the whole simulation was moved online using the school’s bespoke mywbs platform, with more than 60 staff involved in the re-designed delivery of BiP as a seamless experience for 540 students split into 56 teams.

The judges said: "Warwick Business School has not only transitioned to digital delivery, but it has also started with a blank sheet of paper and thought about how it can transform its existing face-to-face offerings.

“It is clearly working for them. The attention to detail and learner-focussed approach of the project is second to none this year. Great support, encouragement/requirement to collaborate and good design made this the winner.”

At the core of BiP was a business simulation designed in partnership with specialists IndustryMasters, where students worked together in managing a global car manufacturer.

The immersive simulation required teams to not only define and execute a strategy for a period of six years, but also react in real time to scenarios and events through online role-plays with actors. This was all complimented with academic material and lectures. The intense schedule involved daily four-hour broadcasts for two weeks including weekends.

Module leader João Baptista, Associate Professor of Information Systems (pictured), said: “We are delighted to have received this gold award from leading experts recognising the successful transformation of BiP to online delivery. It is testament to the hard work of many people across the school and also the high calibre of our students, who engaged with the intense schedule of BiP with a spirit of collective learning.”

Leading up to the two-week simulation students were given information packs, material and online workshops on subjects such as ‘How to deliver an effective sales pitch online’ and ‘Using feedback for client retention’ to prepare, with the school’s CareersPlus team playing a leading role in delivering sessions on the business and interpersonal skills needed.

The Learning Technologies Awards saw more than 350 organisations from 34 countries enter across the 25 categories with 61 online education expert judges assessing the entries.

Careers Manager Alison Collins, who co-designed BiP, said: “We are so proud to win this award, especially as we were up against some really wonderful organisations. We worked tirelessly to transform BiP to an online programme and to see it impress the judges, who are real experts in online education, is incredibly satisfying.

“The global pandemic has been a challenging time for us all, but we can take real heart from the way we adapted so quickly and effectively. The lessons from BiP’s online delivery can certainly be used when the world hopefully returns to some sort of normality.”

Bryan Rimmer, CEO at IndustryMatters, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the partnership with WBS that made this event – and the award – possible. Our online simulations are uniquely suited to meet the demands learning entities had to adjust to in 2020 and we felt the combined team stepped up to the challenges brought on by the pandemic.”

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