The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding with Avalon Foster Group, LLC, for a partnership that will market and deliver learning technology solutions and consulting to the private sector.
University faculty and staff, along with undergraduate and graduate students, will work with Avalon Foster through the University's Learning Technologies Master of Science (LTMS) program and the Center for Advanced Entertainment and Learning Technologies (CAELT).
In addition to consistently expanding its student census, the LTMS program has done considerable research and product development in the areas of eLearning, virtual reality, gamification, alternate reality games, and other progressive learning modalities. Through Avalon Foster Group, this partnership will provide a means to expose and apply the University's expertise and resources to real-world business problems within a larger market.
The CAELT advances the use of entertainment and learning technologies across a variety of industries, and aims to build a talented workforce in interactive media and learning technologies, as well as serve as a regional champion of this rapidly growing field, by coordinating with other innovative new media organizations throughout the nation.
"We have consistently seen organizations like ASTD and PEW write about the stagnation of skills in the workforce – which can be tied to retiring baby boomers, disruptive technologies, and globalization. Add to this a global recession. As a result, there is continuous pressure on business to adapt, innovate, and continuously learn. In fact, it has been said that the next 10 years will be the learning decade. The business opportunity lies in doing it right. Real business outcomes that can be achieved by doing so effectively," said John Fitzpatrick, managing director of the Gettysburg-based Avalon Foster Group. "Our partnership with Harrisburg U provides our consultant team with a reservoir of the talent, new research, and learning technologies that can be smartly applied to improve business agility and innovation."
The Learning Technologies Master of Science (LTMS) program is the only one of its kind in Central Pennsylvania. A key element of the Learning Technologies master's degree is the use of technology to integrate and develop new ways of learning and ways to assess learning, as well as explore new approaches to work (especially collaborative work). The degree is a blend of theory and practice which develops skills that can be applied to complex education and training issues.
With Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, DC, being Avalon Foster's primary market region, Harrisburg University hopes to gain added exposure for its LTMS program outside the Capital Region, and continue the trending increase in LTMS enrollments.
Mr. Fitzpatrick said he is pleased to partner with Harrisburg University and considers it a partnership that truly works both ways. "We intend to give the LTMS students an opportunity to apply new skills on real-world projects, while benefiting from the research and highly credentialed talent that make up their faculty and staff."
Although Avalon Foster Group is a relatively young organization, co-founder Mr. Fitzpatrick is no stranger to corporate learning. He was formerly president of PCIQ Enterprise Learning, where his company worked with hundreds of clients, providing formal and informal learning solutions. The successes of his organization eventually lead him to receive the Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association's Entrepreneurial Spirit Award. Avalon Foster Group provides consulting in the area of learning technologies and organizational change. Additionally, the company provides a host of executive and professional development courses in leadership, communication, and organizational effectiveness. More information on Avalon Foster Group can be found online at http://www.avalonfoster.com.
The LTMS is a part-time or full-time, 36-semester credit hour program that provides educators with the leading edge approaches and skills to help the educators understand and integrate existing and emerging learning technologies into a variety of learning environments.
"The potential for technology to enrich learning is being explored at all levels of education," says Andy Petroski, director of Learning Technologies and assistant professor of Learning Technologies at Harrisburg University. "Harrisburg University is supporting the effort to meet today's employee and organizational development needs with technology through the Learning Technologies Master of Science program. Graduate students enrolled in the LTMS program learn how to evaluate, select, design, and develop a variety of learning solutions that take advantage of technology to improve learning outcomes."
More information on the Learning Technologies Master of Science Program is found online at http://www.harrisburgu.edu/academics/graduate/learning-technologies/.
Founded in 2001 to address Central Pennsylvania's need for increased opportunities for study leading to careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, Harrisburg University is an innovative and ambitious private institution that produces graduates who provide increased competence and capacity in science and technology disciplines to Pennsylvania and the nation. Harrisburg University ensures institutional access for underrepresented students and links learning and research to practical outcomes. As a private University serving the public good, Harrisburg University remains the only STEM-focused comprehensive university located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.