Machine Learning Can Now Show What Skills You Lack — and How You Can Get Them

August 15, 2018 - 3 minutes read

machine learning developer

Sometimes, skills and strengths can be hard to quantify. This can be especially true for companies seeking certain talents or hoping to cultivate them through additional education and training.

Coursera has developed machine learning to help companies understand what skill their employees are gaining from its class offerings.

Solving the Corporate Education Conundrum

We’re in the middle of a renaissance for online education. In fact, there are so many options available between sites like edX, Udacity, and Coursera that organizations often don’t know what they should enroll their employees in. Additionally, once a company does settle on a program, they usually don’t know how to quantify or evaluate the skills their employee is gaining.

Coursera aims to solve this by giving businesses AI-powered objective metrics to evaluate an employee’s proficiency. The company, headquartered an hour outside of San Francisco, will inform organizations when their employee is earning top scores, show them how their skills measure up to competitors, and what additional programs could help close any existing knowledge gaps.

After being derived from machine learning, all of these insights will be available to companies’ online dashboards later this year.

AI Is Fueling Online Learning

Coursera isn’t the only online learning platform investing in AI to bolster its offerings; many others also assess students’ abilities, match them with courses, and refine content after receiving feedback. But Coursera does have a data science team solely focused on utilizing AI. The team, led by Emily Glassberg Sands, concentrates on “collecting and storing data in a warehouse to interpreting information for making internal decisions to building algorithms that feed back into the site.”

All of this is being done in the hopes of encouraging more people to turn to online learning for additional career-boosting training. That’s right in line with what companies want —  according to a 2017 survey, the two top priorities for companies are increasing the effectiveness of educational content and learning how to measure this impact accurately.

The Achilles’ Heel of Corporate Learning

For Coursera, the effort appears to be working. The platform’s business program currently has 1,400 customers enrolled. Overall, Coursera has 31 million students, making it the world’s biggest online learning platform.

“The Achilles’ heel of the corporate learning industry is that no one knows how to demonstrate the return on investment,” explains Leah Belsky, the head of Coursera’s business program. “Companies know their people need to learn new skills to stay competitive, but they have a hard time communicating what the value of that learning is.”

Has Coursera finally cracked the code with their new machine learning rollout? Only time will tell. Have you taken any online learning programs through your employer? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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