On May 30, 2022, in Paris, Excelia presented its ambitious digital transformation plan during a press conference. On a budget 5.6 million euros over five years, excluding payroll, this plan aims to build “the education of tomorrow”. That is to say a new “innovative” teaching model with “a more connected, more modular and more immersive pedagogy” and “dissemination of knowledge and knowledge in “phygital” (term created from the contraction of physical and digital, editor’s note)”.
This development is both an opportunity for innovation, but also a necessity. “The Covid crisis has caused awareness and served as an accelerator”highlighted Bruno NeilCEO of the Excelia group, which includes a business school, a digital school and a school of tourism, on three campuses for a total of 5,000 students.
“New 100% online players have arrived on the market; students now want to live new digital experiences; the demand for training and micro-certifications is increasing sharply; when global risks require anticipating possible needs in educational continuity “, explains Anthony Hié, director of the group’s digital transformation.
At the heart of this education of tomorrow, we find the XL factory. This physical workspace, eventually installed on each of the campuses, is open to all, professors, students, and people outside the campus (companies, associations, etc.) to “think, create, explore and experiment” with digital technology. It is in these spaces that students will be able to follow immersive courses or that we will find a learning lab in particular. “The good experiences will come out of the factory to go to the lessons”, summarizes Anthony Hié.
Excelia also bets, and above all, on immersive learning experiences through virtual reality. Serious games, escape games, metaverses, personalized learning paths thanks to data…. are some virtual educational content that can be found on the learning experience platform (LXP).
“Virtual reality makes it possible to propose situations that cannot be created or are difficult to create in the real world”, underlines Bruno Neil. For example, learners in tourism will be able to live an experience in a foreign country, while others will be able to follow a module of public speaking in the metaverse, allowing an analysis of the services and progress by an artificial intelligence.
The group also wants to prepare students for the professions of tomorrow (AI, data) and will begin to deploy, from 2022, the first training modules that will build a bachelor’s degree “virtual reality and metaverse” in September 2024.
Far from being gimmicks, Caroline O’Neil, pedagogical engineer at Excelia, recalls that these pedagogical innovations are based on neuroscience and psychoeducation. “The metaverse has a strong emotional impact, which stimulates memory and attention,” she cites as an example. Moreover, Excelia claims to want to use only “quality” immersive experiences. For this, the group has created and registered the ILE brand (immersive learning experience, immersive learning experience in French) to label truly “useful” and “innovative” pedagogies.
However, the idea is not to provide 100% digital courses. “The experience will be hybrid, warns the director. The course of the future will consist of physical courses on campus that promote coworking, collaboration, and social, or about 80% of the courses. And augmented online experiences with suitable routes.
“HR are a fundamental brick in this transformation”, supports Laura Zdroui, director of human resources and transformation. Also, to serve this ambition, Excelia has planned to change its organization. A dedicated transformation department and a datalab have been set up. The latter will make it possible to enhance the data and help with management (strategic decision-making and personalized lessons). The group has also recruited 40 digital experts (data engineers, virtual reality experts, etc.).
Finally, an important work of acculturation to digital and support for change is planned to support all staff, including teachers. On the program: training (soft skills, modules targeted at digital, data, etc.), a change support unit, a community of ambassadors, co-construction workshops, etc. In short, it is a “holistic” change that the group wants to operate. See you in 2025.
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