Education Management

Education Management can become a competitive advantage for companies
Education Management can become a competitive advantage for companies

Education management is a key aspect in today’s business. Knowledge, which rapidly multiplies in this information society, has increasingly become an economic factor for businesses. It promises competitive advantages over the competition. A company’s human resource management, which is generally qualified in adult education and business pedagogy, is responsible for human resource development.

Education management

  • facilitates new learning processes for employees,
  • provides favorable learning conditions,
  • continuously monitors learning progress.

In the past, education management within businesses was often restricted to success-oriented education and further training. Corporate advanced training focused on the specific strategies, structures, culture and aims of the business. For example, time management courses, which enable employees to better manage the multitude of target dates and tasks, were popular. Today’s managers, decision makers and executives, however, are required to have a considerably larger skill set than what can be achieved with standard corporate advanced training. They should be able to detect social progress globally as well as economic correlations, then process this information and act accordingly. This means, for instance, that it is no longer just the place of trained economists to engage in strategic contemplation, but that other executives should also immerse themselves in the numbers. In this way they can actively contribute to the company’s decision process.

Education management also has a fixed place within the education system. For instance, education process management deals with the planning, coordination and improvement of procedures. In contrast, education organization management is concerned with the structural, personal and financial framework of an educational institution.

Integral elements are:

  • organization development
  • human resource management
  • financing of education
  • marketing
  • controlling

Many higher education institutions offer degrees in educational science and educational management. There are also part-time measures such as training blocks, seminars, and courses, or distance learning degrees in “advanced training in education management”. An important task of personnel responsibility is talent management. Its objective is to fill key positions within a company with the right staff – and on a long-term basis. It is vital to discover internal and external talent, nurture them and create a strong tie to the company.

1. Concepts

One of the learning concepts is blended learning.
One of the learning concepts is blended learning.

1.1. Learning Design/Qualification Concepts

Modern qualification concepts are aimed at improving how employees learn and helping them reach their educational objectives. Qualified employees are key for a company to remain effective, successful and competitive. Today it is no longer sufficient to acquire knowledge, skills and abilities only once, since in the information age job requirements – due to fast technological change – are subject to permanent and increasingly fast change. Accordingly, one must, by use of qualification concepts, constantly learn something new, like new technology or working with new software. Useful to the learning process is the backwards learning design. The primary issue is establishing the aim: What is the learning objective? Only then is the question of achieving the aim dealt with: How will the learning process be structured?

Innovative learning concepts today include various elements of study skills. Important building blocks are digital learning, e-learning and mobile learning, because knowledge today is very easily accessible at any time thanks to mobile devices. For most people a smartphone, tablet or laptop are constant companions. Digital qualification concepts, however, require a high level of motivation and discipline since they mostly rely on autonomous learning. Employees organize their own learning, and dictate learning intervals and speed. They have the learning content available on their tablet or smartphone and learn, for instance, during their commute to work on the train or bus.

1.2. Blended Learning

Blended learning comprises the concepts of mixed learning, combined learning and integrated learning. By nature, blended learning is an integrated learning concept which combines the advantages of classroom teaching and internet based e-learning. Employees using blended learning attend workshops, seminars and courses where they can interact directly in person. They also receive online materials (exercises, scripts, slides, videos, podcasts) suitable for the respective learning objective, which enables them to practice, intensify and solidify the learning content. When and how often they access the content is their own decision. Digital resources are usually very useful in preparing for and following-up on learning content. Online forums help to clarify ambiguities and answer arising questions.

With blended learning there are in principle three kinds of activities, which can be combined and are intended to create a coherent learning experience:

  • Autonomous e-learning means that time, intervals, speed and location of your learning activities are subject to your own choice. You essentially manage your learning.
  • Live e-learning provides courses or workshops as webcasts (webinar) or participants meet up at specific times in a virtual classroom. Questions can be addressed to the lecturer and direct communication between participants is possible.
  • Traditional classroom teaching, which takes place as a seminar, workshop or discussion at a specific location. Here you communicate face-to-face.

1.3. E-Learning

E-learning is an integral part of our digitized society and is known under various synonyms:

  • electronic learning
  • e-didactics
  • online learning
  • remote learning
  • multidimensional learning
  • computer-aided learning
  • computer-based training
  • open learning

Common to all these terms is the provision of learning content and material via digital or electronic media. The content is stored on servers or in the cloud and can be accessed at any time. Furthermore, e-learning supports communication, for instance, with webinars, virtual classrooms, chats and discussion forums. Mobile learning or m-learning is a variation of e-learning which utilizes mobile devices. In addition, gamification – or playful learning – is playing an increasingly important role. The focus here is on incentives typical for games, such as animations and rewards.

E-learning has decisive advantages:

By using desktop computers, notebooks or mobile devices the user can learn flexibly with regard to location and time. Thus there are no long distances to travel, saving time and reducing costs. This means more personal responsibility and less external instructions when learning. All that is necessary for e-learning is internet access and sometimes special software, such as a flash player for moving images. On the content side, e-learning offers more flexibility as well: the user learns according to his or her needs and state of knowledge, and acquires the learning content when it is needed. The user can also determine learning speed and the order of content blocks.

1.4. Classroom Training

Classroom training is the traditional form in which lecturers and teachers impart knowledge. The core aspect of classroom training is the personal onsite participation in a class, such as a seminar, presentation, workshop, course or training course.

Classroom training has various advantages:

  • Competent, experienced teachers or lecturers to guide participants through the learning material.
  • Participants do not have to work out everything on their own.
  • Classroom training allows for a personal relationship between teachers and participants and hence more direct communication.
  • This form of teaching enables immediate clarification when difficulties in understanding arise.
  • Participants can discuss, exchange ideas, and work out learning content in small groups.
  • The great advantage of classroom training is the social togetherness and mutual support in the learning process.

In contrast to e-learning, classroom training also has some disadvantages for the participants:

  • Learning is less self determined.
  • Fixed times and a common location to meet are unavoidable.
  • Participants require time to travel to the site – incurring costs.
  • Learning speed is determined by the teacher.
  • Questions usually cannot be answered nor ambiguities clarified after the classroom lesson because the teacher is no longer available.

A good alternative is blended learning, also known as mixed or integrated learning. It combines classroom teaching with internet based e-learning and allows the participant to have the best of both worlds.

2. Tools and Methods

Virtual classrooms are one way of conveying knowledge.
Virtual classrooms are one way of conveying knowledge.

2.1. Learning Analytics/Knowledge Diagnostics/Testing/Assessment

Learning analytics is a method which collects and evaluates data from students and learners. Potential sources are learning management systems or online sources. Experts refer to this process as “educational data mining”. The survey data obtained in knowledge tests represents the individual state of knowledge and refers to, for instance,

  • procedural knowledge (solution processes)
  • general knowledge
  • expert knowledge
  • social knowledge

Learning analytics is a tool for learning optimization. The data analysis allows teachers to monitor, measure, and supervise the learners’ learning progress (knowledge monitoring). They identify learning patterns, learning problems and individual needs, and hence can better estimate future learning performance. Learners are provided insight into these evaluations, so they can reflect on them. The predicted learning performance could, in future, be utilized in suitability diagnostics as well as application and selection processes. In contrast to the usually employed intelligence tests for knowledge diagnostics, learning analytics provides a more detailed insight into the knowledge and learning potential of a single individual.

The foundation of learning analytics is electronic learning (e-learning), which comprises digital learning courses and digital learning processes. This allows data on learning behavior and knowledge processes to be collected and evaluated. The aim of learning analytics is to improve teaching processes, syllabi, learning courses and learning processes, and, for example, to provide students support in their learning. Knowledge diagnostic techniques such as learning analytics are still in the early stages of development, but also considered the future of learning. An integral question regarding learning analytics remains data privacy.

2.2. Audioconferencing/Videoconferencing

Audioconferencing connects people from different locations all over the world via the telephone and through a conference bridge. Several conference participants dial in over the telephone line and confer. In contrast to videoconferencing, the participants cannot see, but only hear each other. Alternative terms for audioconferencing are teleconferencing or audio conference.

The host of the audio conference receives a dial-in number and an access code, which he shares with the participants. There are various options to dial into an audio conference:

  • The host connects the participants manually to the conference line and includes them in the audio conference.
  • Modern audioconferencing systems support alternative connection options, such as cloud-based internet connections which work with desktop computers or laptops via voice over IP (VoIP).
  • Another possibility is teleconferencing online using mobile apps on smartphones or tablet computers.

Videoconferences allow for an online meeting in which the participants can see (via webcam) and hear each other. The probably best-known videoconference system is Skype, which runs on desktop computers, laptops and mobile devices using VoIP. In a web conference it is possible to transfer messages immediately (instant messaging) or to share the desktop screen (desktop sharing), for instance, for presentations.

Audioconferencing and videoconferencing are very popular with many companies and organizations, because web conferencing saves time and travel expenses. Particularly employees of companies with various locations use this technology to communicate regularly.

2.3. Virtual Classroom/Virtual Worlds

A virtual classroom could save you quite a few trips to the university, advanced training seminars or office. Thanks to modern technology, virtual classrooms bring classes right into your living room. The primary difference between online learning courses and traditional classroom teaching is that the learning takes place not in a physical location, but via online classes in virtual worlds. Learners agree upon a time to meet up in virtual class with the teacher.

Every participant requires:

  • a webcam
  • e-learning software (virtual classroom software, distance learning systems)
  • internet connection

The virtual classroom setup depends on the intended learning targets. The tools to convey the contents are chosen according to these targets.

Virtual training using online learning courses are available in different contexts as online classrooms:

  • correspondence school
  • distance learning university
  • advanced training
  • local universities

Virtual classroom projects are suitable for children who are ill or live long distances from the nearest school. They can meet their classmates in online virtual classrooms. Distance learning is also suitable for employees who would otherwise have to undertake costly journeys.

One disadvantage of online education is that participants have to work out many aspects after the virtual classroom lesson on their own, without any guidance from the teacher.

2.4. Collaboration Tools

Collaboration tools improve the cooperation of teams which are not at the same location. Using collaboration tools allows projects to be planned, organized, controlled and documented better, and, ideally, also concluded quicker. There are a vast number of collaboration tools for teamworking, which are usually web based. All that is required for the collaboration is an internet connection and a web browser. The challenge for companies and organizations, however, is to find the most suitable tool for their online cooperation. Collaboration tools offer various functionalities, for example,

  • instant messaging
  • audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • desktop sharing
  • file sharing
  • mind mapping (collecting ideas)
  • collaborative working on documents
  • team coordination
  • project management

Further possibilities for cross company cooperation (enterprise collaboration) are offered by cloud-based collaboration solutions. An advantage of cloud collaboration is that companies do not require servers of their own. Such cloud-based collaboration solutions offer, for example,

  • a secure cloud storage service
  • chats
  • web and video conferences

They also allow for time and location independent document access, and collaborative editing using document management software.

In contrast, enterprise social software promotes fast communication. It is also referred to as collaboration platform, enterprise social network or social intranet service. In essence it is rather like Facebook for businesses. Some versions of the collaboration software are free. The usage of additional features will usually incur costs. Often the intranet software is already part of a family of more extensive collaboration tools for companies.

2.5. Presentation Tools

Presentation tools facilitate the easy outlining of facts and content connections, as well as concisely summarizing the subject matter. A presentation tool simplifies and optically illustrates content, while at the same time – if used expertly – being entertaining. At talks, workshops and business presentations such presentation tools are invaluable. Probably the most well known presentation tools are the commercial presentation tools Microsoft PowerPoint and Prezi. This software is quite common in corporate settings in particular. In addition, there is also a variety of new presentation software that caters to different needs, such as mobile presentations. Some presentation tools are even available for free.

There are a number of different presentation techniques. The projector presentation is today’s standard in business. Being able to not only flip through slides, but also include multimedia content, such as videos, images and audio, and the display of animated elements, is an essential advantage. Interactive presentation software brings the presentation to life. A presentation made with PowerPoint can also be animated and played with a projector. The projector allows for a large projection on which details are clearly perceivable even at some distance. Presenters can highlight key facts and aspects in their presentation with laser pointers. A presentation camera on the other hand, is more suitable for lecturers and teachers. It works wirelessly via a USB interface, can record documents, images or videos, and can also be used together with a projector.

2.6. Participant Feedback System

Feedback systems are important instruments in helping businesses, institutions and organizations improve performance. They are part of human resource development and ascertain employee satisfaction throughout all layers of the hierarchy. Feedback systems also enable companies to determine customer satisfaction regarding certain services and products. That is why feedback systems have become a standard tool in market research and opinion polls. The user feedback helps companies to identify weaknesses and initiate improvement.

There are different feedback systems, which, for instance, capture employee opinion and satisfaction, requests, conflicts and ideas, but also satisfaction with the company itself. With the 90 degree feedback system, an employee receives feedback from his immediate superior only. Some companies use extended feedback systems (180, 270, 360 degree feedback systems) which include further feedback sources, such as

  • colleagues
  • cooperation partners
  • customers
  • suppliers

Often the feedback tool of choice is a questionnaire designed specifically for the company and customers surveyed. The feedback management of a business must be put in trustworthy hands. This could be human resource management or an external service provider. In market research, the online feedback in terms of a user survey is often used as a fast feedback tool. The results of the feedback surveys in businesses are analyzed by human resource management together with upper management or employees. In this process it is important to identify and plan reasonable approaches and measures for improvement.

3. Contents, Training and Qualification

Trainings make conveying new knowledge possible.
Trainings make conveying new knowledge possible.

3.1. Management Training

Management training and leadership development are integral components of medium and large businesses. Management training is concerned with various issues, skills and abilities of managers and decision makers.

Hence there are seminars for various topics, such as:

  • change of roles – from employee to management
  • acceptance of new executives
  • personality development
  • confidence
  • rhetoric
  • conversation skills
  • self-management
  • leadership style

Management training is targeted at both new and experienced executives. The latter sometimes need support in determining their personal position and reflecting on their leadership style, as well as honest feedback, new ideas, and an extension of their horizon.

Leadership coaching strengthens leadership skills and examines personal leadership styles.

The central elements of management training are:

  • the ability to motivate employees
  • the ability to communicate in an appropriate manner
  • the ability to resolve conflicts

It is instrumental to analyze personal leadership. Strengths and weaknesses in leading must be identified and leadership skills improved. Due to the advanced nature of the training, executives specify their expectations, wishes and aims, and develop new strategies and skills in employee interaction. Managers usually regularly participate in management training. These courses are either conducted internally by external trainers or coaches, or take place at an academy for leadership personnel. Academies offer various management training courses, coaching and seminars (advanced training/executives, further training/leadership). The range of management training is adapted to the continuously changing, digital working world, in which the variety of tasks is ever growing.

3.2. Academic Degrees/Certification Courses

Using certifications, organizations and institutions demonstrate their adherence to certain requirements and quality standards regarding their products and services. For example, websites can be certified and receive a web certification. Companies, individuals (professional certificate), or (IT) systems can also be certified. Well-known service companies that offer certifications are TÜV, Dekra and IHK.

ISO certifications, such as the ISO 9001 quality management certification for businesses, are probably the best-known certification standards. The latter QM standard is designed to optimize company processes and performance. The IHK certification course consists of advanced training for mercantile and technical professions, in which participants acquire knowledge of modern procedures and technologies. IHK courses comprise 50 to 250 hours of training.

IHK certification is only awarded to participants who successfully pass an internal test and attend at least 80 percent of the classes. Good exam preparation is therefore very important. The IHK seminars only consist of 20 to 50 hours of training. They are intended as further training to update or extend the participants’ knowledge in certain areas. An IHK participation certificate is not awarded without test or examination. In addition, the IHK offers “train the trainer” courses. These are directed at future trainers or employees who are responsible for personnel and corporate training. This certification is a trainer qualification.

An academic qualification or degree is a certification in form of a

  • bachelor’s degree
  • master’s degree
  • diploma degree
  • doctorate

For these you must complete a degree course at a university or university of applied sciences, or through distance learning.

3.3. IT Training

IT training is necessary when companies introduce new IT solutions. Without adequate computer training new hardware and software are usually ineffective. IT training familiarizes employees with new technology. During the training, they can try out what they will use in their daily work later. There are various IT courses for all digital products on the market. For example

  • text software
  • administration software
  • product management software
  • image editing
  • multimedia
  • audioconferencing and videoconferencing
  • social media
  • databases
  • programing
  • IT security
  • networks

Modern IT solutions improve communication, accelerate work processes, and save time and money. Usually advanced training institutions and academies offer IT courses or seminars for employees of companies introducing new IT solutions. There are also freelance IT trainers, who have specialized in computer courses and IT training programs for certain areas. A computer seminar can be held inhouse in order to reduce the employee time required and keep costs at a minimum. Likewise, several employees who work with the same IT can participate simultaneously. Alternatively, there are open courses with set dates for which anyone can sign up. Individual IT courses, for example when an employee must master software very quickly, are another option. Some course providers also rent out hardware, such as laptops or rooms, for IT training. In addition, they put companies in contact with qualified trainers and offer certifications for employees.

3.4. Project Management

Project management has a central role in every business. Project managers initiate, plan, operate, control and complete projects. There are different project management methods, most of which are augmented by suitable software (e.g. for project planning or project management). The project structure plan, for instance, determines build-up, specifications and delivery scope. It arranges the project into hierarchical units and depicts it visually like a puzzle. In contrast, a net plan is suitable for project operation and managing medium and larger projects. It clearly outlines the procedure of the project.

There is an abundance of project management tools, which project managers can use to plan projects, available on the market. Project software helps to keep track of the entire project’s status at all times, make adaptions, identify problems and risks, and, finally, to complete the project plan. The advantage is that, due to the tool, all involved cooperate and communicate better during all project phases. This significantly simplifies project management. Project management software usually supports working on several projects at once (multi project management).

In traditional project management there are different main phases defined, for which, in turn, there are different instruments:

  • definition (e.g. aims, business case, team, kickoff)
  • planning (e.g. workshop, project structure plan, work packages, procedure, dates, resources)
  • controlling (status, make adaptions, solve problems)
  • completion (delivery, final report)

3.5. Learning Languages

Language learning is necessary when an employee has to move abroad for work or has constant interaction with international businesses. In our globalized world, it is not uncommon for the employees of larger companies to travel to offices in China, India, the US or Eastern Europe, for example. Sometimes employees have to master at least the core vocabulary of a foreign language in virtually no time. Language schools and adult education centers are the traditional suppliers for all those who want to learn a foreign language. Alternatively, there are also personal language coaches. The disadvantage: you have to attend in person on a fixed date, which requires time and flexibility.

Learning languages online is a good alternative, which, however, requires some motivation and self-discipline. An online language course has distinct advantages, since every participant can learn online independent of time and location – for instance, on the train, bus, on holiday or at home. Language learning programs and online language courses offer flexible opportunities. The users

  • determine learning intervals and order of learning content on their own
  • learn according to their own speed
  • revise learning sections until they have sunk into long-term memory

All that is necessary is language learning software. Learning languages online is becoming more and more popular – using apps and online language courses. The methods that we use to learn languages today are, due to technological advances, very diverse and adapted to individual needs.

3.6. Talent Management

Talent management is a key word when considering the future success of a business. It represents the search for the best candidate for strategically important positions. Due to globalization and a shortage of experts and management personnel, companies are in fierce competition for the most talented and qualified employees. Talent management is usually part of a business’s human resource development. In the typical talent management process and the traditional talent management model respectively, human resource managers use suitable strategies (talent management strategy), methods and provisions, in order

  • to find,
  • nurture,
  • and create a strong company tie with talented candidates.

In strategic talent planning it is important to consider company aims and the competitive context, as well as the fact that today, talented employees will not remain with a company because of its brand name alone. Personnel managers are supported in their task by talent management software and talent management systems, which capture the most relevant key figures (e.g. number of high potentials, satisfaction and loyalty).

The following are core areas within talent management:

  • Personnel managers identify promising candidates for certain positions within the company and try to win them over (talent relationship management).
  • Personnel development plays an important role. This comprises measures to improve personality, advanced training and the opportunity for a stay abroad. These measures for employee development increase motivation and strengthen company ties.
  • Performance management, compensation management, and career and succession planning are also part of talent management.

3.7. Team Development

Team development measures bind together the members of a team and promote teamwork. Usually the aims of a company can only be achieved effectively if the members of the commissioned team work well together. Talented solitary individuals do not necessarily advance a team. Team development promotes

  • employee motivation
  • employee development
  • togetherness
  • trust
  • understanding of own role and that of others

Regular team training and team coaching are instrumental to team development. Every organizational development is routinely carried out via the formation of teams, utilizing appropriate team building methods.

The team building process requires time and progresses in phases:

  • Orientation phase: This phase is for getting to know each other and exchanging first ideas.
  • Confrontation and conflict phase: In this phase the primary questions are: Who is assigned what role? Who is assigned which concrete tasks? These questions cannot always be answered without friction. Experts describe this stage as the “close combat phase”. Clarification is vital at this stage in order to avoid conflict and power struggles later on.
  • Organization phase: The team members define their roles and agree upon common values, targets and rules for collaboration.
  • Performance phase: In this phase the team members perform their tasks, ideally, without any friction.

There are different methods for conducting team development. Well-known team building exercises include games for team building or common challenges, such as outdoor activities like rafting and climbing on high rope courses. Such a team event is fun and strengthens the common bond.

3.8. Behavior Training

Behavior training is targeted at learning new modes of behavior, extending the existing repertoire of behavior, and discarding adverse and counterproductive behavior strategies. Behavior training is concerned with different approaches:

  • Communication training and social competency training, for example, strengthen soft skills. Communication training is suitable for employees who have lots of contact with people, managers who often conduct performance reviews, or individuals who often give presentations.
  • Personality training measures improve the ability to communicate, collaborate and resolve conflicts, while imparting self-confidence and presentation confidence.
  • Sales training prepares employees who are working in sales or distribution, and who want to sell their company’s products or services. A business coach, with appropriate trainer qualification, prepares the employee for the presentation of a product, price negotiation, argumentation and the assertion of their interests using practical exercises.
  • Negotiation management training aids employees who often have to negotiate with partners and conduct talks in a communicative manner. They learn to communicate factually and find constructive and integrative solutions that take into account the interests of both parties.
  • Assertiveness training is suitable for teachers and educators who have to handle difficult children and adolescents.
  • Mental training promotes emotional and social competences, cognitive faculties, resilience, self-confidence and mental strength.
  • Concentration training focuses on the improvement of concentration and memory performance.

3.9. Time Management

A flood of emails, permanent phone availability, meetings and business appointments – all this requires successful time management, self-management, good organizational skills, and stress management. All time management methods are targeted at mastering the daily flood of information better. Appointments and tasks have to be

  • well prioritized
  • structured
  • planned

By employing organizational tools, work organization and effective self-management methods, employees and freelancers can save time, free up space, make use of the available hours more effectively and reduce personal stress.

Almost everybody has the ability to manage his time better and hence decrease personal stress levels, for instance through training. Time management can be acquired through time management training. Many companies send their employees on advanced time management training courses. Time management can be learned via a number of different approaches. Here are some examples:

  • Eisenhower matrix: Tasks are arranged by importance and urgency, and completed accordingly.
  • Getting Things Done approach: Tasks are organized and structured first. Important tasks that can be completed quickly are taken care of immediately, for instance, replying to an email.
  • ALPEN method: Daily scheduling does not use all available working time, but includes time buffers.
  • Pareto principle as a time management method: According to the Pareto effect 80 percent of success requires roughly 20 percent time, whilst the remaining 20 percent success in turn requires 80 percent of time.

3.10. Compliance/Compulsory Training

Compliance is the observation of statute and law. Company compliance is of key importance to all businesses. If companies or organizations violate applicable laws or act unethically, they not only damage their image, but may also incur legal and financial consequences. Accordingly, abiding by company guidelines and legal provisions is vital. Compliance is primarily a management responsibility. For managers and leadership personnel, but also employees of large international companies, compliance training is usually compulsory. The German Corporate Governance Code requires market-listed corporations to have a compliance management system (CMS). Its tasks are to

  • define company measures, guidelines and compliance processes
  • monitor and ensure the observance of the rules

Special compliance software and comprehensive compliance solutions provide support in compliance management.

Many companies institute a compliance program and corresponding compulsory training, in order to prevent and uncover violations of the law or company guidelines. Also, they often implement a code of conduct, which employees must abide by, and a culture of compliance that commits both employees and suppliers. By means of the compliance culture, companies signify how important the observation of rules is to them. This also reduces the executive board’s liability risks if employees violate business compliance. Essential points in corporate compliance are, for instance,

  • worker protection
  • discrimination
  • tax law
  • data protection
  • competition issues

4. Consulting

The education sector gets support by a wide range of consulting specialists to manage learning projects.
The education sector gets support by a wide range of consulting specialists to manage learning projects.

4.1. Education Strategy

An effective education strategy is, in light of the increasing shortage of experts and executives, and the competition for the best personnel, indispensible today. In our knowledge society and due to the rapid technological change, qualified employees are the key to mastering future challenges and remaining successful and competitive. An education strategy adapted to an individual company guarantees talented and qualified employees can be identified, both internally and externally, and helps establish strong ties between the company and individual. Also, it is important to develop leadership personnel within a company in order to keep talented and motivated employees in the company on a long-term basis. Learning management systems help to structure and accelerate corporate education processes. (New) employees hence automatically find fast, interesting and suitable education opportunities.

Which education strategy a company pursues and which education concepts it deploys, depends on the company’s strategy and entrepreneurial aims. In the short term, advanced training offers, such as language courses, time management seminars, IT training, or measures for personality and team development result in higher costs for companies. However, employees’ greater effectiveness, productivity and improved work results often compensate this investment very quickly. The qualification of employees and corporate advanced training is a worthwhile investment for companies. A suitable education strategy essentially contributes to a company’s success.

4.2. Change Management

Change management comprises measures and methods to manage profound changes in a company. Usually change management is deployed when extensive changes will occur in a company’s organization development. For example, this is the case when

  • company policy, company structure and business areas change
  • new systems and processes are to be introduced

In expert terminology the changing process of a company is called corporate transformation or business transformation. Change management does not take place overnight, but rather across several phases. At the beginning there is the realization that former strategies no longer work sufficiently and change is necessary. Then the process is put in motion with new elements being trialed and solutions identified, in short, changing processes take place.

There are different change management methods and the methods applied depend on the type of change intended in the company. With a realignment of strategy, business consultants are often the go-to people. They develop suitable change management concepts and deploy important change management instruments.

If the change process primarily concerns employees for instance, the following instruments may be used:

  • workshops
  • training
  • training courses

It is also crucial to communicate the necessity and aims of the change. The management of change is usually a major challenge for those responsible, and requires tact and expertise. Not every employee is willing or able to accept or even actively contribute to profound changes affecting them.

4.3. School and University Management

More and more universities and scientific institutions have full-time positions for university management and university governance. In the US and UK most universities have been run professionally for quite some time. In Germany, the principle of self-management still applies in many universities. The core of this is academic self-governance, which comprises various panels consisting of academic personnel. School administration is somewhat different: The ministry of culture and state school authorities form the school administration and are responsible for the schools’ teaching. Traditional management concepts from the corporate sector cannot be simply transferred to schools or universities, which are primarily committed to education and research.

The tasks of university management are highly diverse. They comprise for example:

  • budget planning
  • employment and university law
  • quality management in teaching
  • range of courses and teaching
  • internationalization and collaboration with foreign universities

The university administration is the contact point, source of support and advice center for current and prospective students. In addition, the university administration is responsible for the budget, personnel, technology and university buildings. University management means winning the brightest minds over using various strategies. This is due to strong competition amongst universities. This is the case, for example, in the MINT subjects (mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and science of technology), in which, according to prognoses, there will be a shortage of expert personnel in future. Some universities today offer part-time degrees in university management and science management.

4.4. Project Management

Project management is required by all companies that initiate small, medium and large projects, execute them and intend to conclude them successfully.

The stages of project management are:

  • project definition
  • project planning
  • project launch
  • project controlling
  • project closure

The project head or project manager is responsible for setting up all necessary project management processes, and monitoring and managing all project phases. This enables the project objectives to be achieved in an efficient and resource-conserving fashion, while being on schedule and within budget.

The German Project Management Association and other service companies offer an extra occupational project manager qualification in the form of intensive training courses, seminars or workshops. Regular degrees (bachelors/masters) as well as distance learning degrees can be obtained in project management. The IHK certifies employees who have attended and completed project management training. In addition to traditional project management, service companies also offer project management training for agile project management, such as the scrum process. Scrum is well suited for project teams. The teams

  • organize themselves
  • have clear areas of responsibility
  • work in a solution-oriented manner
  • adapt the project plan continuously to changing conditions and requirements

The term “program management” is also part of expert terminology, although it is not defined conclusively. It can be interpreted as the planning and management of several projects (multi project management) or a strategic task focused on company aims and initiating change processes. Programs are larger, more extensive, more complex and take longer than projects.

4.5. Quality Management

Quality management – short QM – is indispensible for companies. The quality measures are targeted at improving process quality, and product and service quality. Companies from a variety of sectors, such as the food, drug, medical technology or car manufacturing industries must introduce quality management systems to achieve quality assurance for their products. On the other hand, many service companies, such as retirement and nursing homes, operate quality management for quality control. It is intended to create transparency and uncover problems and shortcomings. Quality management, including quality assurance and quality development, plays an important role in schools and universities as well. Many educational institutions have implemented a quality management system. The aim is to

  • systemize processes
  • plan resources
  • gain insights into quality aspects

Quality management is a management responsibility. QM can be classified by the term “functional management”, because it is not focused on the position of leadership personnel, but rather on processes of planning, organization and control.

There are different quality concepts. DIN ISO 29990 is a quality management system for educational institutions. The quality management norm ISO 9001 is most common in Germany and abroad. This QM certification is suitable for companies and organizations of any size and sector. There are service companies, for instance the TÜV, which guide companies through the complex and time consuming quality management process and certification. Companies can also obtain templates and manuals from the internet to help them master the quality assessment. A degree in quality management can be obtained as a regular degree course or alongside work through distance study.

4.6. Performance Management

A performance manager plans, operates and manages company processes that are oriented towards the company’s aims, strategies and future organization. An important aspect of performance management is the service provision itself, as well as the time and resources required. The performance management process not only includes all procedures, but also the employee performance and the performance of all teams and divisions. The objective is to optimize the performance of every employee and of the entire business. A performance management system is able to ascertain, monitor and manage the individual performance of employees, divisions and the entire organization. In a performance review it is essential to provide employee feedback regarding the attained performance or to determine new targets for career advancement.

Various measuring instruments (performance measurement system) support companies in:

  • ascertaining performance
  • determining the specific performance
  • recognizing achieved learning effects
  • looking for potential improvement

Several parameters (KPIs) serve as a measure for performance evaluations, enabling an overall performance evaluation. There are various performance management methods using different approaches. Business performance management is not restricted to one business domain, but takes the overall company situation into consideration. Operational performance management, in contrast, is targeted at aligning different business areas within a company, in order to improve the operating result.

4.7. Social Media Consulting

Social media today is indispensable to almost every institution and business. Social media consulting ensures the identification of a suitable social media strategy. The intended measures should be targeted at improving customer retention, or the popularity and recognition of a company.

The best-known social media channels are:

  • Facebook
  • Google+
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Flickr
  • Pinterest

Besides these there are professional networks, such as:

  • Xing
  • LinkedIn
  • SlideShare for company presentations

Social media platforms have different outreach, user numbers and user groups. Companies must therefore match their communication strategy to the social media target groups. With Facebook, Google+ and Twitter the focus is on shares and likes, with Instagram it is pictures, and with career networks the focus is on CVs and professional experience. When looking for suitable jobs or candidates, career networks are often very useful. A social media consultation assists companies and organizations in identifying the most suitable social media channels.

Not all social media channels work for every company or organization. On which networks a company should be represented depends on the pursued aims. Specialized social media agencies today offer social media consulting. They consult with companies, organizations and institutions, develop social media concepts, such as a Facebook strategy (e.g. Facebook advertisement), or social SEO. They also implement the agreed measures and subsequently maintain the channels editorially. Social media monitoring allows the quantification of a measure’s success and communication.

4.8. Legal Issues

Almost every company has to deal with legal issues at some time. Legal issues can arise in various areas, such as copyright or publication rights. Both are of enormous importance to companies, educational institutions, publishing houses and people running online portals. Copyrights legally protect the intellectual property and the author of a work, and copyright breaches can be very expensive. There are lawyers and jurists who specialize in copyright law.

Protected by copyright law are, for example:

  • texts
  • images
  • artwork
  • films
  • music
  • software

The protections extend 70 years beyond the author’s death. The author himself decides the permitted usage of his work. He can agree to or prohibit the publication, distribution or reproduction of the work. Without legal permission others have no publication right. An exception is quoting someone else’s text while referencing the copyright. Licensing allows time-limited use of a work or publishing rights. Accordingly, many software manufacturers, but also publishing houses offer commercial licenses for their products or texts. Free licenses contain publication and distribution rights to copyright-protected works free of charge. A prominent example is open source software. There are also copyright collectives, which manage copyrights as a trust. They deal with legal queries and exploitation management. GEMA, for example, is a collective for music rights, and VG Wort, for authors’ rights.

4.9. Participation

Worker participation is well-established in today’s businesses and ensures employee involvement. In Germany, worker participation is regulated by the German Works Constitution Act (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz). The works council is responsible for representing the interests of employees. Worker participation in its current form is the result of a long-term learning and formative process, encountering various highs and lows.

To set up a works council, a company must have at least five employees who are eligible to vote (over 18). The council should ideally include employees from all divisions and every form of employment, in order to organize the participation at the work place in a broad and balanced fashion. The legal requirements for worker participation also require the inclusion of women in the works council. The works council attends to the economic, personnel, social and organizational interests of the workforce. The employees are involved in important decisions in these areas via worker participation. They have involvement and codetermination rights, for instance, in personnel questions, social matters, or the shaping of work processes and work places. The works council has no influence on company policy.

In IT companies and small start-ups, worker participation often is unheard of. They rather rely on the self-determination and self-organization of their workforce. However, this requires a high level of motivation and responsibility. Learning based on experience (reflective learning) and self-education, which is a commitment to lifelong learning, are important in these organizations.

4.10. Coaching

Coaching is a professional consultation by a coach, which is targeted at various people and groups. This includes individual coaching from a personal coach, team coaching and project coaching. Coaching works with structured dialogues between a neutral coach and the client, who is called the coachee. Coaching can cover professional or personal concerns. Many professional athletes or football teams employ coaches.

A business coach discusses daily work issues, such as leadership, communication and collaboration with others (coaching/leadership personnel) with his client.

Some important aspects of job coaching are:

  • assessment and development of personal skills
  • professional perspectives
  • reflection on one’s own behavior and actions
  • communication or conflict resolution with coworkers, colleagues and superiors

Career coaching is aimed at people who want to advance themselves professionally. Systemic coaching examines people within the systems in which they live and work. The aim is to unravel entanglements, open up new courses of action and free up resources. Personal coaching addresses personality structure, behavior and thought patterns. Coaches work with various coaching methods and coaching tools. There are now coaching companies that offer online coaching. Coach and coachee collaborate via internet, using videoconference or webinar software for example.

The coaching academy provides information about qualifying as a coach and advanced training in coaching. Coaching qualifications can be obtained through vocational further training.