Harris, Lisa and Harrigan, Paul
Fit for purpose: placing the PLE at the centre of marketing education.
In, The Personal Learning Environment Conference 2011, Southampton, GB,
11 - 13 Jul 2011.
Microsoft Word (paper submitted for PLE 2011 (www.pleconf.com))
- Author's Original
This paper evaluates how marketing educators can develop appropriate curriculum content and the supporting personal learning environments (PLEs) made possible by developments in social technologies. As educators we should be preparing students for a business world where interactive technologies are disrupting relationships with customers who are participating in social networks, creating and sharing content, and building relationships with each other (Gordon 2010; Libai et al. 2010; Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010).
PLEs can be conceptualised in terms of 1) technology choices available to individuals to help them manage their learning, 2) features of the study programme which help to formalise this approach, 3) technological infrastructure provided by the university as a whole (adequate wifi connectivity and bandwidth, secure web access etc) and 4) culture changes that are required for staff to operate effectively within this environment. Our paper focuses on the development of PLEs at the programme level while recognising the relationship with and dependence on these other factors.
We discuss a case study of the marketing curriculum and associated personal learning environment developed at the University of Southampton. We introduce the ‘new Marketing DNA’ as a model for the curriculum, developed through grounded research in marketing practice. It reflects the pervasive role of technology in terms of the implementation of ‘social’ marketing culture and communications, and also management of the vast amounts of customer data created via social media. These developments are mirrored in the learning environment itself; the move from one-way transmission of knowledge to the discursive nature of classes, the need to include ‘live’ material in reading lists and the use of social media within the classroom, for example via live tweeting.
Although we received positive feedback from students, only a few really ‘bought in’ to the integral role of the PLE in the learning process and went on to sustain the recommended activities throughout their course. The success stories, can, however, be drawn upon to inspire next year’s cohort. Our experience suggests that continual reinforcement throughout the programme of study is necessary to counteract entrenched student expectations of, and staff preference for, a more traditional learning experience.
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