By digital know-how, Excelia needs to rediscover its instructing mannequin

Strategy

Anthony Hié, Director of Digital Transformation at Excelia: “Data can help personalize and personalize training courses. »


On May 31, 2022, Excelia Higher Education Group introduced XL Vision, a multi-faceted digital transformation plan aimed at providing immersive learning experiences and more agile pedagogy.

AdvertisingEach year, the Excelia Higher Education Group welcomes more than 5,000 students to its campuses in La Rochelle, Tours, Orleans and soon Cachan in Paris. It has five schools that are trained in management, tourism and digital management, with around 350 permanent staff and almost 500 external contributors. Bruno Neil, CEO of Excelie, on May 31, 2022, accompanied by Anthony Hié, Director of Digital Transformation, Laura Zdroui, Director of Human Resources and Transformation, and Caroline O’Neil, Pedagogical Engineer, presented the XL Vision Transformation Plan, which aims to reinvent the teaching model groups in order to offer students and staff an agile education system and immersive experiences.

According to Bruno Neil, XL Vision is intended as a “holistic and co-created plan with all stakeholders”. Its aim is to design a physical model of teaching that “changes the way knowledge is disseminated.” Excel’s transformation plan revolves around three goals: reworking teaching methods, expanding educational missions, and generalizing agility in pedagogy. It also gives an important place to transform an organization through a data-based approach that is available to all users, students, as well as teachers, administrators and administrators. Finally, the guidelines also contain a “green thread” with the objectives of social responsibility (CSR) and digital sobriety. To implement this plan, which is included in the strategic plan for 2020-2025, the group planned a budget of € 5.6 million over five years and recruited around forty staff in the new professions.

Experience-based teaching

Higher education today faces several challenges: the emergence of new, fully online competitors, students who want to return to university and seeking extended experience, the development of micro-certifications in further education, the need for continuity of education with hybrid education … To meet these Excelia decided to work on four strategic axes. The first is to rebuild the experience of students, teachers and administrators with new people-centered services and collaborations. The second concerns strengthening digital culture with a human resources strategy for skills development. The third concerns the development of innovative and immersive pedagogies focused on the needs and achievements of students. Finally, the last is to build an innovative technological base to support the group’s growth. These strategic axes are divided into six themes and 38 projects. “We plan to run eight projects a year,” said Anthony Hié.

AdvertisingTechnological innovation plays an important role in this plan. For Excel, it works on two levels: smart campuses offering an enhanced experience on the one hand, and a set of services in the digital world on the other. In the first part, the group plans to equip each campus with the XL factory, physical spaces with an area of ​​more than 100 m², which are arranged in four areas: Explore and explore new educational approaches, including virtual reality and increased; Create for creation through production studio; Think of meeting spaces that support collective intelligence, and finally a laboratory for training. The first full XL factory will open in La Rochelle in October 2022, with the other sites completed within the next six months. The group is also working on the R2S-4grids certification of its connected buildings with Certivéa.

Metavers and platform learning experience

In the digital world, Excelia works on two types of metaversion, accompanied by the specialized consulting firm Antilogy. The first is a synchronous metaversion, the digital twin XL Factories. According to Anthony Hie, this metaversion will make it possible to offer immersive learning experiences that complement those on campus. “We don’t want to reproduce lectures, we rather target scenarios, with the support of teachers,” said the director of digital transformation. Excelia also wants to deploy asynchronous metaversion to give students the opportunity to develop skill blocks, “maximize and stimulate cognitive abilities.” For Caroline O’Neil, a teaching engineer, “it’s a matter of combining neuroeducation and technology to ensure effective pedagogy. »The use of virtual and augmented reality, preferably with headsets to maximize immersion and concentration, allows students to observe the same concept in different environments and be actors, which contributes to the anchoring of knowledge. These technologies also contribute to building responsible pedagogy. “Choosing virtual reality to visit foreign companies also means traveling,” illustrates Caroline O’Neil.

The group also wants to implement the Learning Experience Platform (LXP), a student experience training platform that will offer mainly micromodules to meet the growing demand for micro-certifications. “LXP uses data and artificial intelligence to enable ultra-personalization and tailor teaching to students’ progress, preferences and behavior,” said Anthony Hié. On these topics, the group cooperates mainly with the company Domoscio, which specializes in adaptive learning. Within the LXP, a block of data for business is already in place and a block of CSR and sustainable development is underway. To go even further, Excelia has registered a trademark called ILE (immersive learning experience), which indicates the quality of immersive experiences in academia and in the digital world.

Transversal organization

The plan also envisages the deployment of a digital workplace, unified, multi-channel and multiterminal portal for all community groups, students, educational and administrative teams. This will allow information to be shared, but will also facilitate the online registration process. “Our priority is to ensure continuity of experience when a user moves from one platform to another,” said Anthony Hié. Finally, to support its data-based strategy and meet the challenges of analytics, Excelia has launched a data lab that brings together business experts and multiple technical profiles, such as data engineers, data scientists and data architects. This interfunctional laboratory is focused on all services of the group, both on education departments and on financial, marketing and other organizational processes. It focuses on the use of data to respond to new uses and to jointly create models for future value creation. “Data can be used to inform strategic decisions, but they can also help tailor and individualize teaching methods,” said Anthony Hié.

To manage these transformations, Excelia has created an organization that is also interfunctional around the large digital transformation department. It combines the traditional functions of the IT department with supportive and innovative missions in connection with HR and the teaching professions. In addition to the DSI, two new poles materialize this ambition. The Entrepreneurship and Change Management Center aims to facilitate the adoption of methods and tools, while the Digital, Edtech and Experiential Innovation Center manages the digitization of lessons with the training engineering team and also integrates new expertise (metavers, data, devops, etc.). ). The Human Resources and Transformation Department (DRHT) is closely linked to the plan to develop a digital culture at all levels of the organization. The implemented actions include the establishment of a mirror organization at the level of the project manager, which reflects the organization of the digital transformation department, with the pairs combining digital skills and business lines. An internal change support unit has also been set up. According to Laura Zdroui, the cell is responsible for “cultivating all staff to manage projects, conducting joint construction workshops, or even developing ambassador communities around multi-function projects.” Finally, DRHT is also committed to acquiring the skills needed to successfully complete the transformation through the recruitment of rare profiles in the short term and internal training in the long term (9 to 18 months).

In line with the transformation plan, the Excelia Digital School also wanted to integrate training on absorption technologies into its courses. In the years 2022-2023, the school will launch workshops and master classes on virtual reality and metaversion. In the years 2023 – 2024 it will offer modules and specializations in these areas, in September 2024 it will then offer a bachelor’s degree in “virtual reality and metaversion”.

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