“Valuable Skills” and What This Means For The Future Of Learning

 

A recent CNBC article made the point clearly and succinctly—”There’s no question America has a skills gap.” Drawing on a study by the Career Advisory Board, in which 62% of the 501 hiring managers polled said that higher education students were “underprepared” to meet current skills needs, the article specifically looks at why industry giants like Google are partnering with learning providers like Udacity to address this critical challenge.

A Win-Win Learning Model?

The answer has to do with two key features of our learning model: 1) We are able to teach the most important, most relevant, most up-to-the-minute skills, and 2) Our students are able to turn their learnings around quickly, and demonstrate their proficiencies to prospective employers in tangible, meaningful ways. The rapidity and efficiency of this agile model results in uniquely prepared learners getting fast-tracked into critical open roles the moment they open.

At face value, this is a win-win for all—industry makes clear the skills they’re seeking, learning providers build laser-focused programs that teach those skills in targeted ways, students accrue desirable skills, and organizations hire those students.

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Beyond the Binary: Education, Disruption, and The Learning Economy

Udacity Education Disruption

The world of education is full of binary arguments, with perhaps the broadest and most tenacious being the ongoing debate around “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” systems. Other examples and variations include “academic” vs. “vocational”; “online” vs. “classroom”; “university” vs. “non-university”; and “public” vs. both “private” and “charter.” But when it comes to education, it’s not about “traditional” vs. “non-traditional” anymore, and true education disruption means going beyond the binary to promote lifelong learning for a learning economy.

Beyond The Binary

Many educational futurists would likely agree that these binaries are no longer truly relevant to the issues we face in education today. In a recent article by Dr. Liz Alexander (Co-founder, Leading Thought) entitled Women of Foresight: Changes in Education for Future Student Success, Anne Boysen (Founder, After the Millennials) refers to “an artificial boundary between theoretically and practically-based education”:

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Lifelong Learning and the Future of Work

Lifelong learning, Udacity

Job opportunities continue to grow in emerging spaces such as virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. At the same time, existing roles in fields from healthcare to finance are changing dramatically as new tools and technologies are adopted. The concept of lifelong learning is accordingly transforming from a discretionary aspiration to a career necessity. No longer is it a supplemental luxury to learn new skills, and no longer is learning new skills something you do only when you’re pursuing a significant career change. Being relevant, competitive, and in-demand in today’s fast-moving world requires an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning regardless of your role or career path.

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It Was A Very Good Year: Udacity in 2015

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“It was a very good year.”
~Frank Sinatra

365 days. 12 months. 1 year. It shouldn’t feel so long ago, but somehow January of 2015 seems about as far away as Y2K. Was it really just the beginning of this year we were blowing  your minds with data visualizations, and debating the merits of Python vs. R? And was it honestly just a mere two weeks after this year’s Valentine’s Day that we announced that all Georgia Tech OMSCS courses would be free going forward? Hard to believe, particularly in light of all the exciting news we’ve just had about GT’s first online graduates, but it’s true! How time flies…

Looking back at the year behind us, it’s hard to believe everything that’s been accomplished. Our students together comprise an incredible force for learning, and their dedication and commitment levels are other-worldly. Did you know, that if you add up all the hours that students together have dedicated to learning with Udacity, the total is over 450 years??? It’s true! Check our special Year-End Infographic if you don’t believe me!

Numbers like that are pretty staggering. One’s eyes almost glaze over thinking about it. When I get that feeling, it really helps to think about the students behind the numbers. The individual accomplishments just keep coming, and they’re all so special. As but one example, consider March of 2015.

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Seven Beginner’s Courses That Everyone Can Master

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It can be difficult to get started in tech. We know that. But it’s not as hard as it may seem, and our beginner’s courses offer a great opportunity for novices to get up and running. These courses have few if any prerequisites, and they’ll equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to build your expertise. Whether you’re testing the waters of a new career, reskilling or upskilling to take advantage of a new opportunity, or simply pursuing knowledge and personal betterment, these courses offer approachable, engaging and jargon-free opportunities to add critical skills to your resume. Plus, they’re really fun!

More than anything else, we just want you to not feel intimidated. So please, go through the list below. Find a course that sounds really interesting, and take it! You won’t be disappointed. In fact, you’re going to be amazed by how easy it is to learn, and by how much you learn.

#1. Android Development for Beginners: How to Make an Android App

Android’s growth as a platform is nothing short of remarkable –1 billion activated Android devices and counting! It’s a very exciting world, and learning to create things for Android offers an incredible opportunity for anyone interested in mobile technology and cloud computing. Virtually all future generations will begin their relationships with technology and the internet via a mobile device. This course is a first step towards contributing to that remarkable future, and because we believe in learning by doing, you’ll create your first app by the time you complete the course!

What you’ll get:
You’ll learn the basics of Android and Java programming, and actually create your first real app!

Where you can go:
This could be your first step on the journey to becoming an Android developer! Look out Google, here you come!

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Fun Parent-Child Summer Projects for Coders and Tech Junkies

 

Now that summer is in full swing and the kids are out of school, many parents find themselves scrambling for ideas on what to do together as a family—projects that capture a diverse set of interests and maturity levels, as well as activities that strike that ideal balance between educational and fun.

It makes sense for parents to want to include their kids in activities and interests they can share and—good news—there are a ton of resources out there for introducing your kiddo to tech. Sure, you can definitely spark an interest in programming, but even if your child doesn’t grow up to be the next Steve Jobs, learning to love learning, think critically, and stay curious (just like mom and dad) will help your kids succeed in any field they may choose to focus on.

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Learn Programming? You Already Know How.

Programming.

Programming is a fantastic career field for many reasons (great pay, solid career growth, serious job demand). No news there. But what you may not realize about programming as a job choice is that, no matter how far along in your studies you may be, you can actually already do it really well.

“Say what?!” you may be thinking, if you’re a total coding newbie and intimidated by the perceived learning curve. Or else, if you’re in the process of picking it up or sharpening your skills, “I know I can already do it, I’ve learned through courses, books, blogs, and hours of coding practice.” But here’s the thing: every day, people of all types, in all fields, of all mathematical abilities, are “programming” in their daily lives simply by way of using certain thought structures or patterns of logic. Computer programming is just the practice of transcribing those everyday rules into a more structured format.

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