Course Blocks


The curriculum has six course blocks: (click on any block for more information)

These course blocks are designed to be stand-alone and can be taken in any order, except for the Dissertation Block, which is only for those who have completed the other five blocks. They also can be combined into a degree program. We are offering three course blocks per calendar year. There is an additional course required for those students completing the master's degree, and a final sixth dissertation block for those pursuing a doctorate. Please go to Tuition and Fees for more information.

For a complete course block schedule, please click here.

Strategic Leadership

Rigor and strategic insight need to be tightly linked. This course block advocates that learning leaders play a key role in strategy development and implementation, working closely with CEOs and C-level teams to design creative growth opportunities. Learning executives are called upon to identify and assess profitable business ventures, lead mergers and acquisitions, establish alliances, and shape internal growth strategies. They need to be able to lead teams, communicate the value of learning, and form alliances with their peers within the organization. Consequently, they need to gain a deeper understanding of strategy, build leadership skills, and better communicate the import of learning to other leaders.


  1. Aligning and Integrating Learning and Performance with Organizational Goals
  2. Building and Utilizing Influence, Credibility, and Organizational Savvy
  3. Fostering Ethical Fitness
  4. Leading, Managing, and Coaching People at Work
  5. Generating Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
  6. Leading and Managing Organizational Change
  7. Learning Leader as Performance Consultant
  8. The CLO Working with Other C-Level Leaders
  9. Communicating the Value of Learning and Performance
  10. Intercultural Communication in the Workplace

Back to Top

Workplace Learning

Encouraging an organizational culture in which all employees are regarded as learners — and all interactions are regarded as potential learning experiences that lead to enhanced performance — requires the development of a compelling vision for the learning function. Fundamental shifts in adult learning trends have created a challenging context. With complexity comes a corresponding need for informed, purposeful, and dynamic work-based learning and performance leadership.

The chief learning officer (CLO) is a learning and performance leader. He or she must understand and embody work-based learning leadership — just as a college chancellor must understand the faculty and students. This course block explores what constitutes quality learning experiences for working adults in a rapidly-changing world.

The modules in this course block are grounded in a scientific approach to learning rather than a simple instructional design or adult learning theory approach. This approach encompasses psychology, cognitive science, education, computer science, electrical engineering, anthropology, sociology, and a range of other disciplines.

Taken together, the modules in this course block explore what it means to be an effective learning and performance leader of an organization in the 21st century.


  1. Work-Based Learning and Learners
  2. Pedagogy and Curriculum in Adult, Work-Based Learning
  3. Philosophical Underpinnings of Work-Based Learning and Performance
  4. The Relationship between Leadership and Learning
  5. Introduction to Organizational Learning
  6. Implications of Diversity for Work-Based Learning
  7. Informal Learning
  8. Corporate/Higher Education Partnerships and the Structure of Higher Education
  9. Evaluating Work-Based Performance and Learning
  10. Developing Performance-Based Assessments for Adults

Back to Top

Business Acumen

Learning leadership is more important than ever in giving organizations a competitive edge. Organizational restructuring and career advancement place managers in more demanding roles, requiring skills beyond their areas of disciplinary training or expertise.

The business acumen course block gives managers the core business knowledge to take on broader leadership responsibilities that add value to their organizations. Faculty members present and apply key knowledge in areas such as finance, marketing, leadership, and strategy based on current research and best practices.


  1. Leading and Managing the Learning Function
  2. Knowledge Management
  3. Managerial Accounting
  4. Corporate Finance
  5. Outsourcing and Off-Shoring: The Global Context of Managing Learning
  6. Strategic Marketing of Work-Based Learning (double module)
  7. Project Management and Work-Based Learning
  8. Managing Distributed Learning

Back to Top

Evidence-Based Decision Making

Chief learning officers face a myriad of complex decisions requiring the accumulation, synthesis, and analysis of data from multiple sources and in a variety of forms. They need to be efficient with resources while investing them astutely.  

This course block prepares CLOs to identify and employ a variety of data sources and analysis methods to inform decision making. It allows them to become more able consumers and producers of the wide variety of data that are needed to inform decision making. The premise upon which this course block is based is that the decisions of work-based learning leaders are more likely to have a desirable and predictable impact on their organizations if leaders are able to frame questions more precisely, employ a variety of data sources when solving a problem, develop their analytical skills to make sense of data, and effectively communicate the results to different constituencies.

Participants receive an extensive introduction into the basic quantitative and qualitative analytical techniques that are the foundation of social science data analysis. The experiences gained within this course block are designed to be integrated into the other course blocks. Students explore issues commonly faced by CLOs, such as analysis of program effectiveness, the investigation of curricular and instructional strategies, the use of assessment data for instructional improvement and accountability purposes, and inquiries into the evidence behind different professional development strategies.


  1. Designing Individual and Organizational Inquiries
  2. Developing Fluency in Methodology of Measurement and Analysis
  3. Creating and Managing Data/Research Infrastructures
  4. Using Data and Evidence Appropriately in a Persuasive and Informed Manner
  5. Creating an Evidence-Based Culture of Improvement within Learning Organizations

Back to Top

Technology for Work-Based Learning

In a geographically distributed and time-challenged business environment, technology is an integral part of any learning solution. The work-related learning leader must understand technology and know how to evaluate its appropriateness and effectiveness. Essentially, he or she must learn to ask the right questions, understand how to talk to both vendors and the organization's technical staff, especially the CIO, and learn not to be awed or intimidated by innovation.

That said, in today's business world, learning leaders must be poised to innovate. The real value is in implementing technologies that will drive a company's manufacturing, service, and product development cycles. This course block exposes leaders to technologies in order to master the skills needed to lead innovation in organizations of all sizes.


  1. Designing Learning Environments
  2. Managing Learning Technologies
  3. Using Simulations and Games
  4. Choosing E-Tools: What is the Correct Tool from the Technology Tool Bag?
  5. Emerging Technologies
  6. Security and Privacy in a High-Tech World

Back to Top


For information on the dissertation process, please contact