Like most things, the pandemic has changed how we learn. 

From classes running on Zoom to people investing in online certification programs, the shift is pervasive and highly visible. 

Coursera, an online course provider, studied the pandemic’s impact on education and the demand for various skills and revealed their results in their Global Skills Index. Their research was incredibly comprehensive, covering 65 million learners across 60 countries, 10 industries, and 11 fields of study.   

You can read on to uncover some of the key findings from the report! 

Large-Scale Effects of The Pandemic 

The report covered 4 overarching trends on how education is evolving:

1. Higher education has had to adjust. 200 million students in higher education have had to shift to an online learning environment, and 4 in 5 of those students are living in countries whose skill levels have been defined as emerging or lagging.

2. Digital skills have become critical. These skills range from “managing change and driving online services to automating processes that can no longer be done in person.” 

Note: You can acquire skills related to building automations by taking courses (for free) in our recently-launched Automation Institute.

3. Inequalities have been highlighted. For instance, countries with less internet access have lower skill proficiencies. 

4. Learning is still happening. Case in point: From March through June, over 15 million people registered on the Coursera platform. Considering the variety of similar online learning platforms, like Udemy and Udacity, there’s a good chance you’ve taken at least one online course yourself! 

So, what types of learning opportunities are people focused on? And how can these opportunities benefit you? We’ll explore the answers to both questions next.

Trending Professional and Personal Skills 

Coursera’s report found 3 categories of courses that have experienced a significant rise in demand:

Business, Technology, and Data Science 

According to Coursera “Over two-thirds of the enrollments by governments, companies, and campuses on the Coursera platform are in courses teaching business, technology, and data science skills.”

The enrollments have changed slightly after the hit of the pandemic in March, but overall all these domains are dominating. 

  • Trending skills within Business, which Coursera defines as “the practice and day-to-day running of a business” are Microsoft Excel, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Blockchain and Business Analytics, among others. 
  • Trending skills within Technology, which Cousera defines as “the creation, maintenance, and scaling of computer systems and software,” are C, Artificial Intelligence, JavaScript, Web Development, and User Experience Design, among others.
  • Trending skills within Data science, which Cousera defines as “capturing and utilizing the data generated within a business for decision-making and/or powering underlying products and services,” are Python, Data Storytelling, SQL, R, and Deep Learning, among others. 

Personal Development 

As the world has changed so quickly, it’s no surprise that the demand for courses related to personal development has skyrocketed. According to Coursera, the “Demand for personal development skills like confidence, stress management, and mindfulness has grown by 1,200% among individual learners.”

As you evaluate and provide resources that can enable your team to be successful, don’t forget those related to wellbeing and mental health. Assuming your colleagues are like most employees, they’ll find them immensely valuable. 

Managing COVID-19 

As time forges on, Coursera learners are also taking a look into how to deal with the virus. 

“The top five trending skills related to COVID-19 are public health, recognizing symptoms, understanding risk factors, social distancing, and contact tracing.” The platform further explained that there have been over 800,000 enrollments around these skills. 

In short, look at the whole employee’s experience (even after their workday is over) and consider providing them with opportunities that can help them cope with the world’s changes.  

A Closer Look at The Tech Industry

Coursera found that employees in the tech industry are the most skilled. They further explained that while most other sectors are bogged down by legacy processes, organizations within the tech industry have proven to be agile with theirs.  

As far as skills are concerned, Coursera encourages the industry not to be complacent, since skills in tech change so rapidly. The online course provider also offers some insight on the skills that employees in tech should look for: “Continuous development of analytics, PaaS, IaaS, and cloud computing skills, in particular, should be a priority for tech companies moving forward.” 

With these insights in mind, we hope you’ll engage in digital learning more successfully throughout 2021!

Want to ask BT leaders about the skills they’re focused on acquiring during the pandemic? You can do so by joining the largest community for business systems professionals, Systematic. Request to join.

Tayleur Hylton
About Tayleur Hylton

Tayleur is a budding technology enthusiast helping to grow the business systems community.