Rethinking Graduate Education in the Age of Digital Technology and Why We Are Betting On Augment to be the Leader

Origins Fund
6 min readDec 4, 2023

By Lara Fakhry and Salomon Aiach

Graduate education is at a crossroads, challenged by a new generation of learners who demand flexibility, affordability, and immediate applicability of skill. It has traditionally been confined to the classroom, with significant emphasis on theoretical knowledge rather than practical application. However, with the advent of digital technology and the rise of online learning platforms, this is changing rapidly. We are beginning to see a shift toward more applied, experiential, and personalized learning experiences that help students develop real-world skills and meet their unique educational and career goals.

This shift has only been accelerated by the pandemic, which has forced educational institutions around the world to rethink their teaching methods and adapt to new modes of instruction. As classroom-based learning is quickly becoming obsolete, outpaced by the demands of the modern workforce and the rise of digital technology, we are in dire need of a paradigm shift, a complete disruption of the graduate education sector and here’s why:

  • Lifelong Learning is the New Norm: the concept of education as a one-time accomplishment is outdated. Today’s rapidly changing world demands that we become lifelong learners, continually acquiring new skills and updating our knowledge base to keep pace with innovation. This is particularly true at the graduate level, where professionals seek further education to advance in their careers, pivot to new fields, or simply stay relevant. The traditional model of graduate education, designed around static curricula and fixed timelines, does not cater well to this need for continuous, flexible learning and an ever changing workforce.
  • The Importance of Practical Application: graduate education has often been criticized for its overemphasis on theoretical knowledge and underemphasis on real-world application. In the face of rapidly evolving industries and technologies, this disconnect is more problematic than ever. Students need opportunities to apply their learning in real-world contexts, solving complex problems and working on projects that mirror what they’ll encounter in their professional lives. Graduate education must shift its focus from mere knowledge dissemination to fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • The Rise of Digital Learning: the rise of online learning platforms and digital technologies has drastically altered the landscape of education. They have made learning more accessible, flexible, and personalized than ever before. Yet, many graduate programs still cling to old-fashioned, classroom-based teaching models. There is a pressing need to integrate digital technology into graduate education, transforming it into a more inclusive, engaging, and efficient learning experience. According to a report by Research and Markets, the global e-learning market is projected to reach $336.98 billion by 2026, reflecting the growing acceptance and popularity of digital education.

We need to transform graduate education from a static, one-time accomplishment into a dynamic, lifelong learning process. We need to shift the focus from theoretical knowledge to practical application. We need to leverage digital technology to make education more accessible, engaging, and personalized.

It is not a simple task — it will require significant investment, a willingness to experiment, and a commitment to student-centered learning. In an era where digital technology is redefining the landscape of professional development and education, Origins is betting on Augment to take on the challenge of disrupting graduate business education and preparing students — and our society — for the future.

Augment: Empowering Learners + Building a Community

With the traditional MBA increasingly criticized for its prohibitive costs, rigid structures, and lengthy time commitments, Augment proposes an alternative that harnesses technology to offer accessible, high-quality business education. Augment has emerged as a pioneering force in the realm of online graduate education, with a focus on business education that stands out from the rest. Their unique approach encompasses two fundamental pillars:

  • Democratizing Access to High-Quality Business Education: Augment is breaking down barriers to education by providing learners worldwide with access to top-notch business courses and insights from industry luminaries. According to a recent survey conducted by Augment, 500 of learners reported that the affordability of their courses was a significant factor in choosing their platform. By offering courses taught by the founders of successful ventures such as Shazam, Waze, Wikipedia, and many more, Augment ensures that learners gain invaluable knowledge from real-world experiences. This democratization of learning levels the playing field and empowers aspiring entrepreneurs and business professionals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Revolutionizing Business Education through Community and Technology: Augment goes beyond content delivery; it builds a thriving community platform that fosters collaboration, networking, and mentorship. According to a survey conducted by Augment among its learners, many respondents stated that the community platform significantly enhanced their learning experience. Through interactive forums, live Q&A sessions with course instructors, and networking events, Augment creates an ecosystem that mirrors the dynamics of the real business world. Learners can connect with like-minded peers, exchange ideas, and seek guidance from seasoned industry experts, creating a virtual space that embodies the essence of a true business community.

And there are more reasons why we are betting on Augment to lead the way:

  • A Stellar Lineup of Industry Pioneers: Augment’s commitment to bringing onboard successful entrepreneurs and business leaders as instructors sets it apart from conventional online learning platforms. Learners gain access to invaluable insights and real-world experiences from those who have led and revolutionized their industries.
  • Learning That Adapts to Industry Trends: the dynamic nature of the business landscape demands agility in education. Augment’s online platform can swiftly adapt to incorporate the latest industry trends, ensuring that learners stay ahead of the curve with up-to-date knowledge and skills. Their tech-focused approach ensures that learners are equipped with the latest tools and skills needed to succeed in the tech-driven business landscape.
  • Building a Supportive and Vibrant Community: Augment’s focus on community and networking is a game-changer. The interactive and collaborative environment facilitates peer-to-peer learning, fosters lasting connections, and nurtures a sense of belonging among learners.
Some Augment MBA graduates sharing proudly their MBA graduation on social media
  • Global Reach and Accessibility: Augment’s online model transcends geographical boundaries, making high-quality business education accessible to individuals regardless of their location. This opens up opportunities for learners from diverse cultural backgrounds to engage in cross-cultural learning experiences. Today, their students come from more than 10 countries and 5 regions.

The age of digital technology is redefining the landscape of graduate education, and Augment is at the forefront of this transformative journey. By democratizing access to high-quality business education and creating a vibrant community platform, Augment embodies the future of learning — one that is flexible, accessible, and deeply connected to the evolving dynamics of the business world. As we bet on Augment to lead the way, we anticipate a revolution in graduate education that empowers learners, fosters innovation, and shapes the leaders of tomorrow.

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For those hearing about Origins for the first time, Origins is a VC fund where we invest $100k to $500k checks in B2C or B2B2C companies. Origins LPs are for the majority of athletes, celebrities, and investors with very large social media influence. Together they represent a very strong community of 160M followers. We use the power of our LPs to bring awareness to the start-ups we invest in to help them grow faster. We have invested in 13 companies to-date across Europe & North America. You can reach out to us at lara@origins.fund or salomon@origins.fund.

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