Meeting more and more demanding participants’ expectations: A holistic and systematic learning approach

6. Apr 2021 | 3rd edition: Re-thinking learning, Academ & Qace Up Knowledge Bar, Articles

Nowadays, meeting more and more demanding participants’ expectations in the higher education sector requires a holistic and systematic approach, including both learning processes based on research-led teaching strategy and effective processes in assurance quality. As a Full Professor in Operations and Supply Chain Management who is fully engaged in a triple-crowned business school as well as being a former quality assurance engineer, I rely heavily on the following set of practices in order to deliver consistently high-quality learning to participants registered in my management courses.

Dr. Cyril Foropon
Full Professor, Operations and Supply Chain Management
Director, Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) Programs
Montpellier Business School

First, with a view to create relevant contents to be taught in a business school, research-led teaching [1] is a must. It is crucial to carry out applied research projects and translate them into managerial insights delivered both effectively and efficiently in the classroom through the discussion of your own research articles and / or business cases written from conducted research projects (such as my Lean Healthcare Challenge [2] published in the Centrale des Cas HEC Montreal to teach A3 Lean Thinking). Relying on such a way of vulgarizing research findings in the classroom brings latest and relevant managerial knowledge to physical / virtual classrooms. Accordingly, my vision of quality teaching in the higher education sector has direct implications on my research choices, and purposely, my research outputs are systematically incorporated through various forms in my management courses, such as Advanced Operations Management, Global Supply Chain Management, or Humanitarian Logistics to name a few.

Second, with a view to learn effectively relevant contents throughout a management course in a business school, building capabilities in blended learning [3] approaches makes sense. Being able to effectively deliver a management course on a face-to-face basis in the classroom in 2021 is good but not good enough. Indeed, the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that it is crucial to promote learning opportunities distance-wise through either e-learning course sessions or asynchronous / synchronous online teaching. Accordingly, my vision of quality teaching in the higher education sector post Covid-19 experience has direct implications on my pedagogical choices, and from now on, I am purposely designing management courses through a mix of face-to-face teaching / virtual teaching. With ongoing challenges due to the Covid-19 crisis come exciting new learning opportunities to seize in the near future.

Third, with a view to promote both innovation and quality of teaching in a management course, a thorough understanding of the link between experimentation and learning is required. With this regard, I strongly apply the essentials for enlightened experimentation [4], including organizing for rapid experimentation, fail early and often but avoid mistakes, and combine new and traditional technologies. Accordingly, I experiment new ways of teaching, assess the extent to which international best practices apply to my management courses, and learn from these experiences by adapting / improving course syllabi on a continuous basis.

Last but not the least, with a view to achieve consistently learning goals in a management course, monitoring clear intended learning outcomes is key. This requires an inclusive approach made of guidelines from international accreditation bodies (e.g., AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA), faculty-driven regular AOL committees, and fair self-assessments of the extent to which learning goals have been achieved.

Overall, meeting more and more demanding participants’ expectations in the higher sector requires a holistic learning approach – research and teaching are the two necessary legs of learning; learning cannot move forward without relying on each of these two key learning pillars – , as well as a systematic learning approach – people learn best when the intended learning outcomes are both clear and monitored.


1 Deakin, M. (2006), « Research Led Teaching: A Review of Two Initiatives in Valuing the Link Between Teaching and Research”, Journal for Education in the Built Environment, Vol. 1 No.1, pp. 73-93.
2 Foropon, C., Landry, S., & McLachlin, R. (2013), « Hôpital Saint-Boniface : Le transfert des patients du bloc opératoire aux soins intensifs de cardiologie », Centrale de Cas HEC Montréal, 12p.
3 Popescu, A-D. (2020), “Essential Aspects of Blended Learning”, Ovidius University Annals, Series Economic Sciences, Vol. 20 No. 1, pp. 457-462.
4 Thomke, S. (2001), « Enlightened Experimentation: The New Imperative for Innovation”, Harvard Business Review, pp. 66-75.


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