GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
First Name:
Title of Paper:
The case for enhancing learning ecosystems in the GCC by incorporating elements from the hospitality and retail sectors
Paper Proposal Text :
This paper explores opportunities to strengthen education ecosystems by incorporating elements from hospitality and retail. My focus is on applications intended to address challenges particular to GCC member countries.

My research is part exploratory, part prescriptive.

It is exploratory because it starts by mapping the ongoing evolution of out-of-class education, particularly as it relates to the growing trend of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). This is a dynamic sector that has attracted growing attention from prestigious institutions (e.g. Harvard and MIT’s joint venture: EdX), private sector entrepreneurs (e.g. Coursera, Udacity) and non-profit organizations (e.g. Khan Academy).

It is prescriptive in that it articulates several hypotheses related to the future evolution of this trend in education and provides evidence in support of a specific thesis.

My thesis consists of three parts.

First, I argue that most current experiments with new education business models suffer from the same missing ingredients. That they have successfully solved problems related to the creation and dissemination of knowledge in a revolutionary new way, delivering impact at an unprecedented scale. But in all cases it is still unclear how they will solve problems related to monetization strategy.

Which leads to the second part of my thesis: that these models cannot become self-sustainable until the deficiency is recognized and addressed. Here I will explore several current attempts to achieve sustainability – and argue that the current direction of thinking threatens to undermine the very principles that have guided the emergence of these new models.

My final point: these missing ingredients will not be found within the existing education ecosystem, but outside of it.

I will show how, in a first instance, certain missing elements can be found in hospitality and retail, not in their current state, but in one they will enter in a couple of years, once ongoing trends mature and forever change the way we create and deliver value in these industries.

One aspect of this transformation will be a convergence between previously unrelated economic activities. And it is at this intersection point, I argue, that we will find the key to our education challenge, the missing ingredients needed to make out-of-class education a sustainable model.

Included you will find a mapping of one such possible future ecosystem, describing its stakeholders, the roles they play and the relationships they form.

Special attention will be given to understanding the potential threat presented by these changes to incumbent power structures within the affected industries and within society at large. And to finding a way of aligning the interests of the most influential players involved, so that we may secure their support. Or benefit from less resistance.

Finally, I identify future research needs and close with a call to action addressed to specific institutions within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).