CourseraIntegrating job-relevant skills into curricula to maximise student outcomes

Integrating job-relevant skills into curricula to maximise student outcomes

Digital learning platforms can help higher education rebound from Covid-19 and provide students with the skills that tomorrow’s employers will need

With the nature of work changing, there has never been more pressure on universities to offer an education that equips students with job-ready skills. The Covid-19 pandemic has only accelerated the rate of disruption.

Speaking at THE Live ANZ 2020, Raghav Gupta, managing director (India and APAC) of the global online learning platform Coursera, opened his presentation with statistics that confirmed the challenges. More than 435 million jobs were at risk in the post-Covid world, he said, noting also that the education of more than one billion learners had already been disrupted.

There is a growing trend that higher education institutions adopt online learning platforms to facilitate off-campus learning. During the past six months, Coursera has recorded a 644 per cent increase in online course enrolment, and it now believes that higher education will not return to its previous model.

“Our sense is that many universities are thinking that the Covid-19 impact is a permanent shift,” said Gupta. “Possibly when campuses do go back to opening, we might see a situation where 20 to 30 per cent of learning stays online, and possibly 80 per cent or so might come back onto campus.”

This, he explained, presented an opportunity for institutions to integrate Coursera platforms into their teaching, allowing them to offer students credit-bearing online programmes and standalone courses, and blended learning to augment the classroom experience. Such an approach could foster multidisciplinary learning that would enhance student employability.

Taking an engineering degree programme as an example, Gupta described a curriculum that was centred on the fundamentals but was retooled to incorporate AI, deep learning and data science – skills that will be of growing importance in tomorrow’s workplace.

“We are seeing from an industry standpoint that tech and data science are very, very important skills,” he said. “Almost all businesses across 10 different industries are investing in them.”

Gupta added that insights gleaned from Coursera’s Global Skills Index found a positive correlation between a company’s employee skills base and its stock performance and resilience. “From a higher education standpoint, skills matter very significantly at a CXO level,” said Gupta, “especially in a Covid-impacted world.”

Online learning platforms offer solutions that can revolutionise curricula. Gupta said that the Coursera for Campus initiative offered “transformative learning” and hands-on, experiential teaching environments that could give students the learning outcomes they need once they enter the world of work.

Watch the whole session above or on THE’s YouTube channel.

Access all of the THE Live ANZ 2020 recordings here.

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