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Online learning took a tech turn in 2017

Online learning platform Coursera has revealed a trend towards tech-based courses in 2017. The 30 million-user site divulged the top 10 popular courses, and the most popular specialisations, as signed up for by its “registered learners”.

Machine Learning, a course taught by Coursera's co-founder Andrew Ng in conjunction with Stanford University, proved most populaMachine Learning, which focuses on artificial intelligence, proved most popular. Image: Coursera

Moving into 2018, Nikhil Sinha expects the trend toward digital skills to continue

Machine Learning, a course taught by Coursera’s co-founder Andrew Ng in conjunction with Stanford University, proved most popular, topping the list of courses that were based on the average daily enrolments.

This course focuses on artificial intelligence and was among at least three AI-focused courses in the top 10.

Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin also feature, which may come as expected, as those have been the feature of many a press clipping in the past 12 months.

“The intersection of business and data analytics continues to grow”

Princeton’s “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies” course ranked 5th in the end of year table.

In a blog post, Coursera’s chief content officer Nikhil Sinha said the rise in the popularity of learning about virtual technologies and IT-based subjects was down to the changing nature of work and the workforce. 

“As the rise of automation threatens to displace jobs, more adults will look for credentials that help them enter new career paths in 2018,” he said.

“We are launching an IT Support Certificate with Google in January which is just one example of a high-value credential we’ll be offering,” Sinha added.

Moving into 2018, Sinha expects these trends to continue, with “anything at the intersection of business and data analytics [continuing] to see growth”.

Another large online learning and MOOC platform, FutureLearn, told The PIE News that while digital skills are becoming more important, and uptake has increased on courses such as ‘Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python’, language learning remains very popular, and English courses especially have seen high enrolment figures.

“We had over 500,000 learners enrol in the British Council’s ‘Understanding IELTS’ course last year,” FutureLearn’s director of strategy Kathryn Skelton said.

“Cybersecurity is an area currently experiencing high demand. Likewise, we’re seeing a large uptake in courses in coding and data analysis,” Skelton added.

Coursera’s most popular courses 2017

1 Machine Learning
2 Neural Networks and Deep Learning
3 Learning How to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects
4 Introduction to Mathematical Thinking
5 Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies
6 Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
7 Algorithms, Part I
8 English for Career Development
9 Neural Networks for Machine Learning
10 Financial Markets

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