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Embracing digital innovation in business education - The HEC Paris experience

Digital technology has dramatically changed learning over the past decade. With the internet, information on any topic is readily available at our fingertips. Excellent pedagogical content on a very broad range of topics can be found online for free. What then is the future of higher education in this digital landscape? And how should a leading business school like HEC position itself in this changing environment?

online education

Our objective with this section of Knowledge@HEC is to inspire our internal discussions on pedagogical innovation and to influence our daily practice. We also want to share our insights with the outside world. We combine stories on our past achievements with ideas for the future. Descriptions of what we did and testimonies of the actors who lived the experience. Contributions from faculty and staff, because digital pedagogy is group work. We examine why we take the digital route, how we approach the challenges and what we do concretely, both in terms of pedagogical practice and ongoing research. 

In September 2017, we launched the fully online MSc in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MSIE), targeted towards active professionals. Twenty-five professors contributed with online courses. I am one of them. Other colleagues have created online certificates, specializations and MOOCs. A recurring theme in our discussions since has been that the experience of creating an online course has fundamentally changed how we are teaching in the classroom. It even has changed how we see our role as professors. And it will change how institutions like ours will define and organize our work.

We examine why we take the digital route, how we approach the challenges and what we do concretely, both in terms of pedagogical practice and ongoing research. 

Marc Vanhuele Business Education HEC


The classroom is no longer a place to just transfer content. And only part of the learning takes place in that classroom. How then can we as faculty design a combination of activities that attains the learning objectives of our courses? And how can we as program directors and managers create an overall experience that, during their time at HEC, fully develops the potential of our already talented students? And where and how can digitalization be an enabler to reach our pedagogical objectives?

HEC has always been a place that encouraged individual innovation. Digitalization is a new challenge because it implies technological choices that have to be made at an institutional level. I hope that this section of Knowledge@HEC will stimulate your individual creativity and open up discussions on how we can transform education, make it more effective and reach more learners.