Why online courses have become the engine room of the modern economy

“Our data shows that these skills are not evenly distributed and that students and low-wage workers need access to flexible, affordable and fast-track services. [education] pathways to entry-level digital jobs that provide a foundation for a stronger, more inclusive economy.

Trying to understand the pandemic

The Global Skills Report collects data from 100 million people from over 100 countries who have enrolled in an online business, technology or data science course on the Coursera platform in the last 12 months.

The pandemic has boosted learners’ interest in courses that would help them understand the pandemic, with enrollment in areas such as epidemiology, resilience and risk management now four times higher than before the pandemic.

Compared to other countries, Australian learners tend to be more female and older than the norm. However, the report found that Europe leads the world in skills, with seven of the top 10 countries performing. Learners in Switzerland have reached the highest level of global competences.

Automation and digital technologies are revolutionizing workplaces, with the pandemic attracting more people to online learning, while reassessing what they consider important for their working lives, such as flexibility.

The report says that by the middle of the decade, around 85 million jobs may have disappeared, but will be replaced by 97 million new ones.

Skills to stay ahead

“In the midst of these changes, it can be difficult to know what skills workers need to develop to stay ahead.”

The report points to Australia’s low level of economic complexity and diversification as a barrier to skills development, leaving the country open to “global instability”.

He also argues that Australia has struggled for decades to keep its most talented workers at home, particularly in the creative industries, which also poses a risk in a changing economy.

The company was founded by Stanford scholars Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng in 2012 as one of the first massive open online course (MOOC) platforms.

It listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March 2021, with its market capitalization reaching $7 billion in the first week.

Karen O. Fielding