Avatar Learning in the Virtual Space: Our Innovative iMBA Program

Carolyn Brune

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Imagine what it would be like to experience real-world business scenarios, management interactions and leadership learning before actually having to put it into practice? That’s exactly what the innovative avatar learning iMBA program at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management has to offer. iMBA students can access their curriculum online with a program that provides access to the organizational structure of a virtual reality company. This includes all facets of sales, production, management, competition and growth opportunities.

In the iMBA Program, students are presented with 10 unique departments within a company to explore, including marketing, human resources, finance, organizational strategy and leadership. They have the opportunity discover each department’s essential functions, as well as learn its personnel needs. Business theories are applied in each realistic setting, allowing students to apply what they learned. This program is a one-of-a-kind immersion experience that opens access to a real-life business environment – from home.

Why Avatar Learning?

In 2012, Lake Forest Graduate School of Management designed the iMBA Program to eliminate barriers between distance education students by providing a convenient alternative to on-campus coursework.   Rather than delegate coursework to only online, text-based studies, the curriculum was designed to provide the same fact-to-fact, real-time learning as the campus program provided.

The iMBA Program is structured on 75 percent virtual reality learning and 25 percent discussion and group work. The course runs for a total of 12 modules over an eight-week course.  In some courses, text books are required while others provide resources through the avatar manager. The manager moves you to the next module when learning benchmarks are accomplished. As iMBA students progress through the coursework, they are evaluated by a Lake Forest Graduate School of Management business leader faculty member, who facilitates discussion and provides coaching.

Online Collaboration and Coaching

In the iMBA Progam, every student is required to respond. This allows other students to see and learn from those responses, enhancing the virtual experience. In this environment, the learning is hands-on and collaborative, which encourages students to ask questions, seek clarification and learn as a group.   Fostering a supportive environment for students creates a sense of business community, which heightens the academic success of students in our iMBA Program.

Do you think that the iMBA Program at Lake Forest Graduate School of Management is ideal for you?  Visit our event page for an upcoming iMBA Preview night. You will have the opportunity to meet some of our faculty, hear about graduates from the iMBA Program and the impact the coursework had on their careers.


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