Before coming to Udacity, I worked in application development and high school education. When I was a software developer, I experienced firsthand how employees in the workforce constantly need to upskill to use new technologies and succeed in their roles. And as a high school math teacher, I learned how to engage students with projects in which they could apply the skills they’ve learned.
Now that I’m a manager with Udacity’s Curriculum team, I work with industry professionals to design data science and artificial intelligence courses that help organizations fill tech skills gaps and execute their digital transformation strategies.
Catering for Learner Diversity
When building Nanodegree programs, we always consider the diverse learning experiences and technical backgrounds that students may bring to our courses. For example, we provide multiple modalities of learning experiences for students using text, video, images and quizzes to help them master course content.
We also make sure that the courses have a coherent learning progression, where concepts and terms build on one another and flow logically from one instructional activity to the next. Our instructors provide helpful examples when they’re introducing new concepts and terms. With these approaches, even if your employees’ background knowledge on certain AI topics may vary, everyone can still progress through and succeed in the course.
Valuable Feedback is Key
Back when I was looking to refresh my tech skills, I tried out other learning platforms, but they just didn’t provide the same high-quality learning-by-doing experience. Even now, I’m continually updating my data science and artificial intelligence skills to better myself as a technical instructional designer, and I still find this to be true. With other platforms, there just aren’t many opportunities for students to frequently test their knowledge and get the personalized feedback that our project reviewers provide to each learner.
The Zone of Proximal Development
In contrast, our curriculum managers are trained in both technical skills and pedagogical knowledge, so we understand how to create courses that truly provide value to your employees. We make sure learners can frequently assess their skills with quizzes and projects and receive personalized feedback on their projects, so they can apply these new skills to their work.
Educators call this the Zone of Proximal Development, where courses are designed not to be so easy that they’re unchallenging or so difficult that they are too discouraging. We work hard to ensure they’re in the perfect “Goldilocks” zone where your employees can understand new content well, and are guided in mastering the desired skills at rigorous, job-ready levels.
This instructional guidance and support is provided throughout our courses. For instance, when a learner gives an incorrect quiz answer, we provide tips that guide them to understand the correct response.
This is true for projects, too. Rather than asking learners to do simple projects that could be automatically graded, we design hands-on projects that mimic the common industry challenges they’ll face in your business, and our reviewers then give them personalized feedback to improve their work. Even when learners pass projects, our reviewers share tips on how their work can demonstrate best practices with excellence.
Maintaining and Refreshing Content
Technology is always changing, and so are the skills that your employees need to thrive and keep your business competitive. Our work doesn’t end after we launch new Nanodegree programs that help your workforce learn how to automate tasks. Our teams regularly look at student ratings and feedback to update course material. We also generally refresh our courses every few years to ensure that your employees are always learning the latest, most relevant data science and AI skills.
Building a Data-Driven Workforce
Our Nanodegree programs are intentionally designed by professionals, for professionals. While the industry experts we partner with focus on the latest technical knowledge, our curriculum managers leverage Udacity’s pedagogical expertise to design courses conducive to meaningful and engaging online learning.
By upskilling your workforce with Udacity, you can rest assured that your employees will gain the skills to design artificial intelligence tools that can improve operations, increase efficiency and transform your organization.